Alice SB Tattoos Bravery Medals for World Mental Health Day

24-year-old tattoo artist Alice SB at Forever Bound tattoo studio in Bristol has been tattooing bravery medals to raise money for Papyrus – the national charity dedicated to the prevention of young suicide. We caught up with Alice after the flash day to find out what inspired her to raise awareness for suicide prevention and World Mental Health Day…

The flash day took place on Friday September 28th at my tattoo home, Forever Bound in Bristol. The inspiration for the day came from so many different places. I’m lucky to have never been immediately affected by suicide but I’ve had mental health issues for as long as I can remember. I’ve been in some pretty nasty places, but I’m so crazy proud of myself for being where I am now. And I don’t tell myself that enough!

Locally, Bristol has quite a bad rep for suicide rates. A lot of my customers are students, and Bristol Uni had one of the highest suicide rates in the country last year, and I think the first place to start to deal with that stuff is open conversation wherever and whenever it can happen. I’m super lucky to have amazing customers who are so open with me about their own mental health, they are a constant inspiration. I can’t emphasise enough how amazing my customers are.

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I think the designs mostly came from my own experience, every day with mental health means a new challenge even if it is just leaving the house or getting out of bed, and we one million percent should be rewarding ourselves more for the things we conquer. I find that having depression/anxiety makes me such more encouraging of other people’s recovery, but less so of my own. So I thought it would be nice to do something a little more self love focused.

The conversation on the day was super varied! We all did a lot of laughing and a bit of crying. Some of my customers were super positive about the whole thing, There was a lot of really positive talk about personal growth and about my customers finding their own coping methods and ways to love themselves. But equally, some of the day was really heavy. I had a couple of customers who had been really immediately affected by suicide, be it a friend or a family member, and some themselves. It was really rad to think about how they might use their new tattoo medal and how it might help to change the way they view themselves and the wider world.

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The general feedback was super positive all round, and everyone was so happy to contribute to Papyrus. They are such an amazing charity, who’s work is focused around youth suicide and it’s prevention. They offer support and education about suicide from a young age in loads of different formats.

All in all the day was really amazing. I really hope the girls’ new tattoos will help to remind them of how far they’ve come, and how tough they are. And to know that we can maybe contribute in a small way to improving the wellbeing of other young people with mental health issues is the best feeling ever. I’d like to thank them all too, if you can put that in there! For the support, and the trust, and for generally being top notch little human beings.

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