A self-harm support project for people aged 16 to 25 launched on Tuesday February 13 at Pennyroyal Tattoo Studio in St Neots.

The Armour Project is one of the initiatives under the mental health priority for St Neots Integrated Neighbourhood, part of Cambridgeshire & Peterborough Integrated Care System, and aims to create a safe, non-judgemental space for those who self-harm and signpost them to local mental health help and support.

The studio has started by upskilling their own staff, with support of the Samaritans, Healthy You, Cambridgeshire County Council, NESSie, so they are able to speak to clients and help to signpost people to mental health help and support which is available locally.

This project utilises the unique position tattoo artists are in as they have to speak to an individual about their skin and are able to offer a safe and supportive environment for their clients who might need additional help.

The Armour Project aims to create a UK-wide network of tattoo studios equipped with resources and staff who can support clients who self-harm.

Anna Kostrubala, Integrated Neighbourhood Project Manager in St Neots, said: “I’m delighted we have launched this incredible project in St Neots in a location which is accessible and welcoming to all.

“The launch of Armour Project has been a brilliant opportunity to bring together all partners across neighbourhood including mental health support services and the community to show what it does and who it can support.

“We’re excited about the future of this project and its benefits to the local community.”

Wes Scott, owner of Pennyroyal Studio, said: “I know that tattoo studios and tattooists might seem a little daunting and not the most likely place to run this project from, but it couldn’t be further from the truth.

“We are used to the judgement that being tattooed brings, and we offer a completely judgement free and welcoming environment to all.

“We are in an ideal situation to provide a safe and informative space for people who self-harm.”

Aftercare packs, which are given out after someone is tattooed, have been updated to include information about local mental health support services.

In the future, the tattoo shop hopes to host more coffee evenings for friends and family of people who self-harm, as well as coffee evenings for people who self-harm to meet with each other.

These coffee evenings are open to anyone who feels they might benefit from support and are not walk-in sessions for tattooing.