Erika Olson wants people to talk about mental health issues, especially addiction and suicide. Erika owns Market West in Mandan, a gift shop with vintage treasures and handmade items by North Dakotans whose products have a story. She believes her newest merchandise has the potential to resonate with anyone’s story and get people talking.
Erika is introducing Project Semicolon items to western North Dakota. Project Semicolon is a national nonprofit organization dedicated to the prevention of suicide; the products are created by Becca Holtan of Turtle Lake, North Dakota.
“Erika said to me, ‘I think we should do something with Project Semicolon,’” Becca shares. “I said, ‘Yes! When do we start?’”
Owner of 5.11 Designs, Becca designs and creates T-shirts, totes, and home decor bearing a semicolon, which represents a person choosing to continue living, no matter the struggle.
“I hope that seeing semicolons around here will start raising questions, and people will start looking into it,” Becca says. “That in itself will help raise awareness.”
The Project Semicolon merchandise can be found at Market West in Mandan or by custom order on Facebook—search Market West or 5.11 Designs. A portion of the Project Semicolon sales will be donated to a mental health services program in western North Dakota.
Read more about Erika and Becca on page 28. And learn more about project semicolon at projectsemicolon.com.