A Psychology graduate is helping people living with mental illnesses by designing a range of temporary tattoos.
Francesca Timbers’ Etsy shop, Motivational Tattoos, sells all kinds of self-care gifts which are ‘made with love to brighten up your day’.
And her range of band-aid tattoos each carry a motivational message – including ‘Believe And Achieve’, ‘I Can And I Will’, ‘One Step At A Time’, ‘You Got This’, and ‘Strength’.
You can even get your own personalised memo printed on them.
‘Mental illness is mostly an invisible illness, so it always helps when people to have a way to make their feelings more visible,’ Francesca tells Metro.co.uk.
‘I like the idea that when your friends and family see you wearing these, they will know you need extra help and support that day. It’s also a sign of solidarity, support and a way to spread awareness.
‘Having mental health issues can feel like a very lonely experience, at times, so this creates a way to connect with others, and feel less alone in those experiences.’
Francesca started designing them after fighting clinical depression and anxiety for over 10 years.
‘I initially designed these tattoos for myself after dealing with my own mental health issues, following a long period of ill health.’
As she was preparing to graduate from her degree in 2011, she started to get headaches on the left side of her head but put them down to being overworked.
Three months later, she started to lose the sight in her left eye and eventually got diagnosed with optic neuritis – a precursor to multiple sclerosis.
‘This diagnosis was the trigger point,’ she says.
‘At my lowest, I lay in a hospital bed, attempting to Google suicide methods on a phone that I couldn’t even read properly.
‘What I felt in that moment; helpless, trapped, like I was in a burning building, and this was the only way out. This is something many people have felt at some point in their lives, but considering so many people experience it, we hear so little about it.’
She says that her tattoos are ‘a symbol, a way to connect people and a means of encouraging self-care’.
And the response to them, Francesca says, has been ‘overwhelming’ – having reached over 20,000 people in over 60 countries.
‘Our goal is to inspire a movement and create a network of support, and recognition around this project. Whenever your friends and family see you wearing these, they will know that you need extra care and support that day. Because your mental health is important. Your self-care is important. And you are important.
‘Because your mental health is important. Your self-care is important. And you are important.’
As well as the tattoos, Motivational Tattoo also sells ‘dissolving thought bubbles notes’, self-care enamel pins, stickers and self-care colouring books.
You can find Francesca’s Etsy shop here.