CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- The semicolon is the punctuation that tells the reader there's more to the sentence. It is also the title of a faith-based nonprofit organization whose mission is to prevent teen suicides.
The "Project Semicolon" tells teens, "Your story isn't over yet."
"There's more to your life," said Indian Trail grandmother Jill Bikowski. "It gets better."
Bikowski bought her granddaughter Emily a ring with the semicolon on it to remind her that the tough teenage years will pass. She hopes Emily's friends will ask about the ring's meaning.
"I think having that symbol, the semicolon ring I sent her starts the conversation, 'you know what's that? Well, it's a semicolon, let me tell you about it,'" she said.
The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services says 11 teens in Mecklenburg County committed suicide in 2016. That's almost double the number from the previous two years.
The Centers for Disease Control reports suicide is the second-leading cause of death for young people aged 15-34.
Project Semicolon says the most important thing parents can do is keep the lines of communication open with their child and to monitor large changes in behavior.
To learn more about the effort, and to learn who to talk with your kids, visit: https://projectsemicolon.com.