GTPulse: Northwood’s Tattoo Hosts Second Annual Suicide Awareness Event
Suicide is almost always directly related to depression or another mood disorder, yet it is something that isn’t treated as aggressively as other life threatening diseases. Milennielas and Gen Z’ers are making strides to normalize talking about depression and bringing attention to the devastating effects it can have on a person’s life. Hayley Bergstrom is doing her part to wage the war against mental health stigma by hosting her second Suicide Awareness Tattoo Event that supports Northern Michigan nonprofit Tears From Daniel.
Lori Yazbeck founded Tears From Daniel after her son Daniel Yazbeck committed suicide last year. The nonprofit focuses on helping people struggling with mental health in an accessible, empathetic way with a goal to reduce suicide.
“I’m a mother and I couldn’t imagine losing a child,” Hayley said. “Lori is such a strong person. We just wanna do whatever we can to help support Lori and her mission. What she’s doing after what she’s gone through is just an amazing thing to me.”
Hayley started the event last year and had a phenomenal turnout that she is hoping to recreate, and even increase this year. Northwood’s Suicide Awareness Tattoo Event is a week-long event that donates a bulk of the profits to Tears From Daniel. Custom flash tattoo art is drawn to honor suicide victims and their families. There is even custom flash designed for Daniel, some of which he drew.
Daniel was a close friend of many at the tattoo shop, including tattoo artist Sabrina Wagner, so it only made sense to do this event to not only raise money for a nonprofit and bring awareness to mental health stigma, but to honor Daniel and his life.
“I am so tired of this stigma, especially for men, that this shouldn’t be talked about and it’s not ok to say you’re not ok and that it’s a shameful thing to go get help. It really hits close to home for me because I’ve lost several family members and some really close friends to suicide,” Hayley said.
Last year’s event drew many customers that had lost a loved one to suicide. People shared their stories with each other. Tears were shed for painful memories, but also for finding the human connection that comes from talking openly with people who have shared variations of the same tragedy.
“Obviously a tattoo is very personal,” Sabrina said. “It’s just emotional and when it comes to a memorial tattoo it’s even more personal, it’s kind of like reliving it in a way. I believe that empathy is kind of like the single most thing that human beings want. It’s a shared experience and it’s a big bonding thing.”
There is something therapeutic about getting a tattoo and customers who have struggled with their own mental health issues got tattooed at last year’s event. Self-mutilation is usually a sign of depression or another mental health issue.
“We covered up so many scars from people who had been cutters. It was such a strengthening thing for them.”
Lori is working towards having a facility dedicated to providing real people that are providing genuine empathy for people dealing with suicidal thoughts. Sometimes people need that human element and there aren’t enough places providing that.
“Her ultimate goal is to open a center that’s totally free to help people with suicidal though and mental health issues.”
As someone impacted by losing loved ones to suicide, Hayley is happy to do her part for the Northern Michigan community and for a cause she cares about.
“It’s really important to us. I wanna make as much money as we possibly can for Tears From Daniel because Lori is an amazing woman and she has a heart of gold.”
The event is running September 1st through September 7th and the flash tattoos being featured for the event are given at a discount, with most being only $40. Participate in the event by scheduling an appointment at the shop. Suicide awareness month begins next month and if you’re in the market for a new tattoo consider checking out Northwood’s Tattoo Parlour and support a local business, a Northern Michigan nonprofit and a cause that aims to save the world from losing more people to suicide.