Ink-redible way to support mental health charity

Matt Peet
Matt Peet

A Wiganer who founded a clothing brand to help combat mental illness arranged for supporters to get tattooed to support a local crisis charity.

Matt Peet from Shevington, who runs Behind A Smile, got inked along with several supporters in aid of Ince-based organisation the Sanctuary Wigan.

Matt and a couple of friends had more elaborate designs and logos done at Black Bones Custom Tattoos in Warrington while another 10 or so fund-raisers chose smaller designs.

Matt founded Behind A Smile to produce clothing which reinforced positive messages about the importance of talking about feelings and mental illness and hopes to battle against the stigma which still surrounds conditions such as depression.

Matt said: “I got a large tattoo done on my chest and my friends got one of our logos, while the other supporters had designs about the size of a pound coin. I met the tattoo shop owner through a friend who plays rugby and he thought what we were doing was really good.

“We were just chatting about it and the idea of doing a charity tattooing event came up.”

The inking raised £395, which was split between Sanctuary Wigan and Mummy’s Stars, a charity chosen by the tattooist’s wife as she battled cancer while pregnant.

Former Orrell RU player Matt has won prominent support, with Wigan Warriors player Kyle Shelford, Oldham Roughyeds first-teamer Sam Gee and Shevington Sharks among those backing Behind A Smile.

Matt is delighted to have linked up with the Sanctuary Wigan after searching for a smaller local charity which could receive the proceeds of Behind A Smile’s work.

He said: “I actually got contacted after the last Wigan Post story by a lady who works at Sanctuary. She said she really liked Behind A Smile. I had been looking for somewhere to send all the money to and I’m more than happy to have found Sanctuary. I’ve always wanted to help a little, local charity where you can see exactly where the money is going.

“It’s a vital service. Places like the Sanctuary Wigan can do so much, helping out with money and debt advice, providing healthy activities, tackling anxiety, meeting people and helping with things like addiction.”

Developed by mental illness charity Self Help, the Sanctuary Wigan provides overnight support for people who are in crisis because of anxiety, depression or low mood, panic attacks or suicidal thoughts.

Open from 8pm to 6am every night to anyone registered with a GP, the facility also provides an alternative to A&E for people experiencing mental health problems.

Self Help specialist services manager Jo Harding said: “We’d like to thank Matt for dedicating time and energy to supporting the Sanctuary and tackling the stigma surrounding mental illness. It’s really positive to see Matt’s willingness to share his personal experiences, as it lets others going through similar experiences know it’s OK to talk. We know it can be daunting, but we encourage anyone out there who is struggling with difficult emotions overnight to call us for support.”

Contact Sanctuary Wigan on 0300 003 7029 or 01942 410522.