Highlighting mental illness in 1066 Country with a simple tattoo message

Louise Krystahl and Lee Parlanti pictured at Inkscape, Bexhill. SUS-150610-114229001
Louise Krystahl and Lee Parlanti pictured at Inkscape, Bexhill. SUS-150610-114229001

A tattoo studio has thrown its weight behind a campaign to raise awareness of mental health.

Louise Krystahl and Lee Parlanti, from Inkscape in Terminus Road, Bexhill, are backing Project Semicolon, a movement set up in the USA two years ago. More than £500 has so far been raised after Lee came up with the idea in July.

People are invited to have a tattoo of a semicolon done to highlight the message that mental illness can affect many people, as well as their families.

The project is based on a simple message, which is: “A semicolon represents a sentence the author could have ended, but chose not to. That author is you and the sentence is your life.”

Louise, 42, said: “It was Lee’s idea to set this up as one of his friends was taking part in the campaign.

“Each semicolon tattoo costs £10 and I donated the equipment at Inkscape.

“So far we’ve done more than 50 semicolon tattoos after starting this drive in the summer.

“The semicolon represents something an author could have ended but it’s not the end of the story.

“The tattoos are proving to be popular, especially as they cost £10, making it accessible to everyone. But it’s not about the money, it’s about raising awareness of mental illness and mental health in general.

“When you do a tattoo for someone people put a lot of trust in the tattoo artist. People have also been telling us their stories when they’ve come in for a semicolon tattoo. Some stories have been quite heartfelt. A lot of people have self-harmed in the past and we cover their scars up.”

Louise added she and Lee will be providing semicolon tattoos for the foreseeable future, as they hope to raise as much money as possible for charity and highlight Project Semicolon’s cause.

Louise said: “It’s important to raise awareness of mental health and how it can affect someone because it can affect a lot of people and their families.”

Her friend, Erin Veness, 24, of Church Road, St Leonards, recently had a semicolon tattoo.

She said: “The nature of the project lends itself to personal stories of strife and upset and those getting these tattoos often bare their souls to Lou as she tattoos them. Lou wanted to give something back, a project that involves not just the tattooed community but those with mental illness.

“It’s the experience of having a tattoo that carries so much meaning, personally and universally.

“It’s that tattooing can be a replacement for self abuse, it’s that beauty can come from the darkest of places and it’s remembering that it’s not over yet.”

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