IGY6 Tattoo Meaning with Ideas & Designs

The IGY6 tattoo has seemingly become popular in recent years due to movements such as Project Semicolon.

Often depicted with a semicolon at its front (;IGY6 ), this tattoo is usually related to suicide awareness. It is mainly done by military veterans who have challenges returning to everyday life after service.

Let’s look at the IGY6 tattoo meaning and what is unique about it.

IGY6 Tattoo Meaning

The abbreviation IGY6 stands for “I got your six” (back). This phrase, which originates from the military, uses 6 to mean behind you. The clock is used in military activities to tell direction. When someone is in your front, that is 12 o’clock, on your right is 3 o’clock, left is 9 o’clock and finally at the back is 6 o’clock.

The semicolon that precedes the IGY6 acronym originated from Project Semicolon, an organization that rallied about mental health and suicide awareness. In English grammar, the semicolon (;) punctuation mark indicates a pause in the middle of a sentence. The writer intends to finish the sentence but instead pauses and continues the thought.

The semicolon as a tattoo symbolizes people who want to end their lives through suicide but pause and rethink it. They reconsider to continue living and slowly heal from what is ailing them.

The IGY6 tattoo signifies someone who has your back when going through a tough time in life, especially involving depression and PTSD (Post Trauma Stress Disorder). They are ready to love, support, and care for people struggling with mental health problems and suicidal thoughts.

This tattoo is popular in the military since many of them harm themselves or commit suicide. Statistics show that about 22 veterans die by suicide every day. Most veterans deal with anxiety, PTSD, and depression when trying to forget about their past and get back to civilian life.

While you can use any color choice in your tattoos, the IGY6 has specific colors often used to bring out its profound meaning. These colors are teal, black, and red, and here is what they mean:

Teal: It is the primary color of the semicolon that precedes the acronym, and it represents PTSD awareness.

Black: The “IGY” is colored black to show the heavy hearts and sadness depressed people go through and the pain of losing dear ones to suicide.

Red: 6 is colored red to signify the bloodshed through mental health problems for many years.

This tattoo is not only limited to veterans. Anyone can have it to encourage people considering suicide that life is meaningful. You can use it to raise mental health awareness and PTSD issues and show your emotions.

Why IGY6 Tattoos Are Popular

We go through many life issues, some of which make us see life as meaningless. While we are all dealing with different problems, some people suffer from worse, such as depression, anxiety, and PTSD, which are not easy to deal with. More often than not, these people choose suicide to solve this problem.

Project Semicolon was created due to the rising number of suicide cases. It aimed to help people with suicidal thoughts by encouraging them to pause, breathe, and continue living. Statistics show that suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the U.S, with approximately 44,965 cases reported every year. This is how serious this issue can be.

The IGY6 tattoo is, therefore, famous due to the absurd suicide cases. People who ink this symbol want to let everyone know that they support Project Semicolon and are willing to help individuals affected by mental health disorders.

The increasing mental health awareness worldwide has led to this tattoo’s popularity. The increased discussions and efforts to break the stigma have seen IGY6 grow from a primarily military symbol to include all affected people.

Civil servants like police officers, firefighters, and doctors have also popularized this symbol. These people put their lives at risk to serve us and support each other.

IGY6 Tattoo Variations

You can add some variations to the IGY6 tattoo design to bring more specific awareness to its message. Some people add 22 to the design to symbolize the 22 veterans that die by suicide every day. This is associated with the “Stop the 22 a Day”, a movement that seeks to address this issue.

You can also add a skull to raise awareness of suicide deaths or signify new life for some cultures. Another variation is the addition of military seals to identify a military branch belonging to the wearer or their family. You can also add some phrases to it to give more support to those who need it. Common words used are ” Not all wounds are visible.”

Who is IGY6 Tattoo For?

The IGY6 tattoo doesn’t have to be entirely military-related. While it is mostly inked by veterans who face pain and challenges from mental health issues, you can have it to show that you’ve got the back of people going through that.

You can have it to raise mental health awareness and show support to people going through mental hardships.

Best Placement for IGY6 Tattoo

While the semicolon tattoo for the Project; is usually placed on the wrist, the IGY6 tattoo is generally drawn on the upper arm, lower arm, or biceps where it can be seen. The goal is to give it maximum exposure and visibility since some people just need to see this to get encouraged that life has more to offer.

A larger percentage of wearers of IGY6 have it on the right arm to be seen when shaking hands for greetings. That said, you can have the IGY6 tattoo anywhere on your body according to your preference. It shows you support the cause and are willing to help victims recover from PTSD.


Depression, anxiety, and PTSD are invisible illnesses, and most people suffering from them don’t get the much-needed help. They often resort to isolation which could lead to suicidal thoughts. The Project; and IGY6 tattoos have made an effort to raise this awareness. The semicolon (;) encourages you to pause and rethink, while the acronym reminds us that someone always has your back.

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About the author

I’m S.R Bhuiyan, a proud Tattoo artist. I will share the body art journey with you here in PrettyJust. I have 10+ years of experience in the field of tattoo, piercing, nail art, and skincare. Check out my bio which has my tattoo studio/cat/travel pics!

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