Bay Area tattoo artists create body art to raise suicide awareness

Long lines snaked around the block on Friday as people signed up to get tattooed in Petaluma to raise awareness about suicide and mental health.

Petaluma Tattoo hosted its third annual fundraiser to remind people that September is Suicide Awareness Month. Its owner, Nick Rodin, lost his younger brother and close friend to suicide in 2009. 

"I always knew that when I opened my own shop, I wanted to do this every year to honor my brother," Rodin said. 

Renowned Bay Area tattoo artists created art on bodies and 100% of the day's tattoo proceeds will be donated to Buckelew Programs to support their suicide prevention program, including their 988 Suicide and Crisis & Lifeline call center, part of the national network launched last year, according to spokeswoman Susan Richter.

Buckelew Programs is the largest provider of behavioral health programs in the North Bay. 

In the past year, Buckelew’s 988 hotline received over 15,000 calls from Marin, Sonoma, Lake and Mendocino counties, Richter said. 

Buckelew’s crisis call center is free and available 24/7 for anyone experiencing suicidal thoughts or emotional distress.

Over 98% of crisis counseling calls result in the suicide risk de-escalating to a safe level through the Buckelew Suicide Prevention counselor’s work with the caller, Richter said.

Over 49,500 people took their own lives in 2022, the highest number ever according to a study released last month by The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Petaluma Tattoo artists donated proceeds to suicide awareness. Sept. 15, 2023 Photo: Petaluma Tattoo