An intricate design with lots of colors. A simple symbol. A name that only means something to the bearer.
Every piece of body art has a story behind it. For one day at Ink Addiction II in Wilton Manors, the works of art will come with extra meaning.
On Sunday, Feb. 21, they’re donating 10% of all proceeds from tattoos and body piercings to benefit mental health and suicide prevention. The shop is working with Breaking-taboo.org, which focuses on breaking the silence around mental health problems. Manager Miguel Valentin says the goal is “to break the taboo with tattoos.”
Valentin has seen people get ink for many reasons, including to celebrate their personal victories over mental health issues.
“Many of my clients get tattoos at a meaningful point in their lives, whether good or bad. I’m fortunate to play a small part in that process,” Valentin said. “I have a few younger clients that have gotten the semi-colon because of their own personal fight with suicide! As well as some interesting cover-up tattoos hiding scars from some of my clients that were cutters!”
Breaking Taboo says one-in-four people have some form of mental health concern, with many struggling with depression. The group wants people to learn how to talk freely about their problems. The default for too many people is to suffer in silence, ashamed or afraid to open up.
Sunday’s goal to raise awareness as well as money is noble, but the date was chosen by Valentin for a very personal reason.
“I agreed to volunteer for this project and picked the date because it’s my five-year anniversary of sobriety,” Valentin said. “If it wasn’t for the 12-step program I wouldn’t be in this position, so what better way to give back and do some service?”
Valentin says this is their first fundraiser and doesn’t know what to expect, but hopes to raise at least $500.
“As a person in recovery, I thought what a great marriage of ideas it would be to team up with BreakingTaboo.org and to Break the Taboo with Tattoos,” Valentin said. “My hope is that at least one person will receive this message and know that it’s OK to talk about mental health and suicide prevention.”