A Peterborough tattoo artist has opened up about her self-harming past as she prepares to fundraise for charity on World Mental Health Day.
Mum of two Hayley Evans from Hampton will be tattooing 14 people back-to-back on October 10 at her studio Ink Imaginarium in Woodston.
A quarter of the proceeds will be donated to Scar Cover Up Freedom Fund (SCUFF) which provide funding for tattoos specifically to cover up self-harm scars to give people the chance for a new start,
The Royal College of Psychiatrists says around one in 10 young people will self-harm at some point, but that it can affect people of all ages.
Hayley has been a self-harmer in the past and suffered with anxiety and depression since her teens.
After a massive dip in her mental health, the 35-year-old made a radical career change in January and now runs her own tattoo, piercing and art studio.
Hayley said: “I self-harmed between the ages of 16 and 24. When you self-harm you don’t think about what it’s going to look like in the future, or how it will make you feel when you’re older.
“The scars are on my forearms and are quite obvious. I often feel paranoid that people stare, but I also like to look at them occasionally to remind myself of where I was and how far I have come.
“I had my first scar cover up tattoo - an octopus - about a year ago and it really makes a huge difference. I now feel like people are looking at my tattoo rather than
“I thought if I can help other people feel a little bit of relief and boost in confidence then that’s what I’m going to do!”
Hayley will be tattooing the Mental Health Foundation green ribbon and semi colons which is used as a message of solidarity against suicide, depression, addiction and other mental health issues.