25 Tattoos With Seriously Cool and Inspiring Mental Health Messages

25 Tattoos With Seriously Cool and Inspiring Mental Health Messages

One in five Americans suffers from some sort of mental health challenge. Even if you do not personally suffer, chances are your life has been touched by someone who has had difficulties. Anxiety disorders, obsessive thoughts, depression, and many other illnesses are common and unfortunately many carry a stigma in today’s society. Many people are simply over the stigma. After all, mental illness does not define a person. Some have turned to tattoos as a form of self-expression and a way to raise awareness about mental illness and help remove the stigma around it. By creating beautiful works of art, tattoo artists help others to see themselves in a design. For many, dealing with a mental illness can be lonely and alienating. But, if you meet someone and they’ve got a mental health tattoo or just a thoughtful tattoo about their condition, it can be both revelatory and affirming. No one should suffer alone. Tattoos are a great way to bridge the gap between an invisible disorder and the real world. Here’s a look at some seriously amazing mental health tattoos.

Mr. Serotonin Man

Serotonin is the chemical that makes us feel happy and well. Many people suffering from depression and other forms of mental illness have a shortage of the chemical. It’s just a chemical imbalance. This funny tattoo reads, “Mr. Serotonin man, lend me a gram.”

Serotonin Structure

A popular mental health tattoo design is the chemical symbol for serotonin. The person with this beautiful rendering shared, “It’s said that people who suffer from anxiety have low serotonin levels, so here’s my extra boost of serotonin to help with the bad days.”

 Dopamine and Serotonin

In addition to serotonin, dopamine is another neurotransmitter that plays a significant role in how our brains make us feel. Dopamine is the “feel-good” neurotransmitter and it’s necessary to feel happy in the good moments.

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Harry Potter Meets Mental Health

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Two things you should know: ⠀ ⠀ My Patronus is a humpback whale. ????⠀ And @faetattoos is really fucking talented!⠀ .⠀ .⠀ .⠀ .⠀ .⠀ ⠀ Tattoo Story: ⠀ ⠀ I've always connected with J.K. Rowling's Patronus imagery- In the Harry Potter books, the Patronus Charm drives away dementors- terrifying creatures that suck out your soul. A Patronus takes the shape of a different animal for each witch or wizard. The dementor is J.K. Rowling's personification of depression, and effectively conjuring a Patronus requires empathy, determination, hard work, and positive thinking. ⠀ ⠀ My dementor is my struggle with disordered eating, adhd, and depression. As a young girl, I felt heavy pressure to take up less space, not only with my physical body, but with my opinions and general presence. At the top of my mind were my clothing sizes and measurements. I became self conscious of the fact that I had a learning disorder, and needed extra help and tutoring in school to stay on top of things. I knew how many calories I ate each day, and held myself to strict limits. I didn't want to share my opinions or contribute to discussions in case my thoughts made someone uncomfortable, and I would hardly ask questions or start conversations so I didn't require too much of others' time and attention. Post-recovery, I realized how much effort I put into making myself smaller- literally and figuratively.⠀ ⠀ Although Humpback whales take up a lot of space, they still breach- flinging themselves out of the water and splashing back in. They still dive- their size doesn't slow them down. They displace tons of water and make a lot of noise, while still managing to be graceful, elegant and beautiful. They're the epitome of femininity to me- independent but cooperative, instinctively maternal, protective and intelligent. I always thought that was a contradiction- large and in charge, but feminine, elegant and graceful. Now I know it's not, and there's more than enough room in this ocean to take up as much space as I want. ⚡️⠀ ⠀ #hptattoo #mentalhealthtattoo #watercolortattoo #whaletattoo #patronustattoo #harrypottertattoo #patronuscharm #expectopatronum

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In this creative design, we see a humpback whale with “Expecto Patronium” written above in the iconic Harry Potter font. The woman with this tattoo shared her story:

“I’ve always connected with J.K. Rowling’s Patronus imagery- In the Harry Potter books, the Patronus Charm drives away dementors- terrifying creatures that suck out your soul. A Patronus takes the shape of a different animal for each witch or wizard. The dementor is J.K. Rowling’s personification of depression, and effectively conjuring a Patronus requires empathy, determination, hard work, and positive thinking. My dementor is my struggle with disordered eating, adhd, and depression.” 

Our Beautiful Brains

In this incredible tattoo, the artist has included so many visual representations for how mental illness can feel. The brain is disconnected from the body, there’s a cloud around the eyes and face, there are also tears falling, and eyes staring from the dark locks of hair. It’s stunning.

Lotus Flower

The beautifully simple tattoo combines the lotus flower and the NEDA recovery symbol in one design. The National Eating Disorder Association’s symbol can be seen as the stem and leaf of the flower. This is so peaceful.

Mental Health Looms Large

In this haunting design, we see a dark figure with a mask-like face hovering over a smaller person without a face. For many who suffer from depression or anxiety, the image perfectly represents how overwhelming it can feel.

Disjointed Feelings

This tattoo shows a face split in two by a floral pattern. Feeling disconnected or not whole is common. We love the way this tattoo beautifully represents the feeling.

DSM-5

The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders or DSM-5 is a manual of mental disorders and this person used its classification for OCD as inspiration. He writes, “I’ve been thinking about it for a while. It’s there to remind me that this thing is a part of me whether I want it or not, but also to remind me of the courage and strength it has taken to recover from it. It’s also a reminder of the dedicated work of all the professionals who helped me, and my desire to pay it forward in the years to come.”

Semicolon; Continue

The semicolon is more than punctuation; it’s a symbol that’s used as a message of affirmation and solidarity against suicide, depression, addiction, and other mental health issues. The semicolon is an extremely popular mental health tattoo and this person has sandwiched it in the word “continue.” What a hopeful message.

Semicolon Kitty

There are a lot of creative semicolon tattoos, and this understated semicolon and cat combination is a winner! The tattoo was shared with the message, “Always try to be supportive of those with problems you cannot see.”

Always Fight

This semicolon tattoo incorporates the symbol into the words, “fight always.” Mental health is a struggle and you have to be tough to fight it. This bold tattoo is a reminder to never give up.

Be Kind to Yourself

This tattoo is straightforward. It reads, “Be kind to your mind.” Truer words have never been tattooed. It’s always important to be patient with yourself and to give yourself a break when you mess up.

Take Care

“Take care” are two words we should heed more often. These boldly lettered ankle tattoos have found the perfect spot.

Keep Going

This very minimalist tattoo of the word, “survive” is striking. The person who shared the image of the tattoo described the motivation behind it. They got the tattoo “to remember that if feeling alive is not quite possible for me…to survive is enough for now…but tattooing my own skin definitely made me feel it again…the liveliness!”

Fighting a Battle in Your Head

This fabulous tattoo depicts the inner struggles of mental illness. When you’re constantly battling your brain and its hardwired bad habits, it’s the definition of an uphill battle. It can really feel this epic for some people!

Cut the Rope

A tattoo of a noose might seem a bit dark, but there’s hope. You can “always cut the rope” or “break the chain” from your struggles, according to the person with this tattoo. Inspiration can come from morbid places!

Real Cool

This tattoo belongs to a man named Rich who wanted to poke a little fun at himself. The tattoo consists of a block of ice with medication frozen inside and the message, “Mentally ill, totally chill.” There’s nothing wrong with keeping your cool.

Let Me Overthink This

Wow! This unconventional, yet traditional-in-style tattoo reminds us not to get too in the weeds. “Don’t overthink,” this tattoo gently reminds us. We’ll take that advice. Or try to. Or… wait, we’re already back to overthinking… Gah!

Take a Breath

“As someone with severe anxiety, sometimes I need a reminder to just breathe. I’m glad that I got this tattoo in a spot that I can always see it whenever I need that simple reminder,” writes the woman with this meditative tat.

Take Your Meds

Mental health awareness means letting others know it’s okay that they should take their medication. Prescriptions can be lifesavers for many who suffer. We appreciate the sentiment behind this lovely tattoo.

A Professional Opinion

A mental health nurse named Erin chose this design for her tattoo. One side resembles the normal structure of the human brain while the other is blossoming and budding with plantlife. A bee rests below the brain. Does the bee represent Erin?

Light as a Feather

An anchor can symbolize stability, but this person has reimagined it as a reminder to stay afloat. The anchor contains elements of the night sky and it is surrounded by butterflies. Beneath the anchor the message, “I refuse ; to sink” is tattooed. The person who shared this tattoo wrote, “Definitely worth the pain.”

Journey

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I wanted my next tattoo (18th!) to represent my dedication and journey to better my life by actively taking care of my mental health and the battle it is daily. I have struggled majority of my life with poor mental health- anxiety, depression, low moods, and feeling absolutely nothing at all. I am more likely to feel one of those 4 moods/seasons than feeling genuinely happy/in a great mood at any given time. By actively taking care of myself, I’m able to fully love myself inside AND out. Spending time with people that bring out the best in me, working jobs that give me a purpose, exercising, eating good food, traveling, exploring myself, dog kisses every day, and sunshine help me see better mental health days (represented by the connected brain and heart in a jar). Mental health and self love go hand in hand. Due to my dedication to myself over the last couple years, my quality of life has improved TREMENDOUSLY (represented with the flowers). I’m so proud of my journey and this tattoo! Thank you Mika Love ! “The strongest people are those who win battles we know nothing about”-unknown P.S. the quote above my new tattoo is an old one. It says, “your skin and bones turn into something beautiful” from the song Yellow by Coldplay ???? *photo was taken immediately after session*. #mentalhealthawarenessmonth #mentalhealthmatters #tattooedwomen #heartandbraintattoo #mentalhealthtattoo

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“I wanted my next tattoo (18th!) to represent my dedication and journey to better my life by actively taking care of my mental health and the battle it is daily,” the person with this beautiful tattoo shared. Bravo.

No Doubt

This simple tattoo is like a line drawing. It depicts a face with the word “doubt” written across it. Self-doubt or a lack of confidence can be crippling for some people. This fabulous tattoo lets others know that they are not alone, no matter how much they might feel that way.

Mental health isn’t the easiest thing to talk about, but mental health tattoos are changing that! By giving people something to talk about an “in” a jumping-off point for discussion, tattoos can truly be transformative works of art. Further, dealing with a mental illness is hard. Whether you’ve experienced it or not, it’s always nice to know that you’ve got your own back.

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