ST. ALBANS, Vt.– September is National Suicide Prevention Awareness Month and a St. Albans tattoo artist is offering free tattoos to help people cover their self-harm scars.

“I realize for a lot of people it’s a reminder of the worst time in their life,” said Amanda Hilliker, artist at ReINKcarnated Tattoo Studio. “I can help people heal and I can help contribute to a cause that I feel passionate about that can help other women.”

In exchange for up to 2 hours of artwork at ReINKcarnated, Hilliker is asking for a $50 donation to the local non-profit organization, Voices against Violence.      

“We know that a lot of people are experiencing this violence and it’s extremely prevalent,” said Shannon McMahon, Advocacy Coordinator for Voices Against Violence. “We do crisis work so people who need to leave their homes or are in a crisis due to the violence they’re experiencing.”

An experience Hilliker is all too familiar with. Voices helped when she hit rock bottom 6 years ago.

“You know I was a single mom living in a hotel room with three kids after leaving my abuser,” Hilliker said.

Now working for their support hotline, she sees this as a way to give back to other women.

“There was a time in my life where I pretty much thought suicide was the only way,” said Khristian Jackson.

Jackson got her last self-harm scar covered with a colorful bumble bee tattoo on Friday. She said not having the constant visual reminder helps provide closure.

“Now when I look at my tattoo I will know that my scar is there but it won’t be an ugly reminder,” Jackson said. “I’ll still have the memory and experience of it but it won’t be as difficult for me to look at now.”

Hiliker said she’s looking forward to doing the same for many others in the month ahead.

“I’m hoping that I can help at least one person,” she said. “Because me helping one person could be them in the future helping one person and it could be a ripple effect.”

To make an appointment, Amanda says the easiest way is through ReINKarnated Tattoo’s Facebook page.

Voices Against Violence also runs a 24/7 support hotline at 802-524-6575.