A London-based psychology graduate is using temporary tattoos and Etsy to help change the stigma of mental health.
After struggling with depression and anxiety for more than 10 years, Francesca Timbers was motivated to create a series of self-care temporary Band-Aid tattoos during her final year of university to help her through the espcially tough days. However, once her friends caught wind of the stickers and tattoos via social media, she began to make more designs and a whole new conversation was born.
While the temporary tattoos are obviously not a substitute for professional treatment, they can still be used by people who struggle as another means to help cope with the things that day-to-day life can bring. By keeping the design on the skin and in a location that's easy for your eye to catch, the Band Aid tattoos can be used as a constant reminder throughout the day as well as a sign to others that someone might need a little extra support.
"Dealing with mental health issues can be such a lonely and isolating experience, and these tattoos create a way for people to connect with each other and support a common cause around spreading awareness," Timbers told MORE. "It also helps to make an invisible illness more visible. The idea being, that whe your friends and family see you wearing these, they willl know you need extra care and support that day."
A box of 15 tattoos featuring Timbers' hand-drawn illustrations are available from her Etsy shop MotivationalTattoo for $6.02+ per box. The designs are inscribed with words like, "I can and I will," "Believe in yourself," "calm," and so many more.
"This project has impacted almost all aspects of my life for the better," Timbers told MORE. "I always used to be worried about opening up about my mental health issues, so it's encouraged me to be more open with my friends and family. I've created so many great connections with people around the world, and it's helped me realise that I am not as alone as I thought with my mental illness. A lot of my motivation in life comes from helping people. Growing up, I always wanted to be a psychologist, or doctor, or a vet, so I really feel like I have found my calling with this project."
Bravo to Timbers on this simple, yet hugely impactful idea. While many are starting to speak out against the stigmas of mental health, it still remains to be a largely misunderstood and undereducated area in our society. However, with people like Timbers (and Selena and Demi!) who aren't afraid to speak out and take action, we can continue to spread these important message that those with mental illnesses are not alone.
"Mental illness is not a weakness, and it is certainly not something to be ashamed of," she expressed to MORE. "The more conversations that are started around these tattoos, the better!"