What Inspiring Depression Tattoos Do People Like to Get?

Depression tattoos are becoming popular as a way for people to express themselves and carry encouragement with them. See examples of inspiring tattoos.

Depression tattoos are becoming increasingly popular. With the body as a canvas, people are using their creativity, a character strength that helps people thrive despite challenges, to cope with depression in a positive way. Depression tattoos are highly personal, messages from people to themselves or sometimes to make a statement to others. Anything that has personal significance makes an inspiring depression tattoo. Here’s a glimpse of some art that others have embraced.

The Purpose and Power of Depression Tattoos

More than just pictures or words, tattoos about depression convey a deep message. Their purpose is as diverse and individual as their artistic expression. In general, this skin art serves multiple functions. Depression tattoos can:

  • Be coping strategies, reminding people of something important or providing encouragement whenever needed
  • Be conversation starters, encouraging others to remark or inquire and leading to open conversation.
  • Be a badge of honor, a continual reminder that you’re surviving
  • Act as a personal vision board, always with you and reminding you of what you’re living for
  • Honor a value or an ideal that you hold dear
  • Signal to others who are also living with depression, a way of silently but boldly reaching out for solidarity
  • Serve as personal symbols of victory over your illness (some who have contemplated suicide depict reminders of what they didn’t do)
  • Prompt you to take care of yourself, like the proverbial string around your finger
  • Be a personal coach who’s always with you, reminding you of your purpose, your reason for persevering despite the pain
  • Be a beautiful way to cover emotional and physical scars, not to hide the scars in shame but to make them beautiful  
  • Ground you and remind you that depression hasn’t robbed you of who you are
  • Symbolize your depression at its worst
  • Symbolize your recovery
  • Serve as mindfulness or focus objects to help you change your thoughts in an instant
  • Be celebrations honoring important recovery milestones

Let the deep purpose of depression tattoos move you as you view these beautiful works of art.

Samples of Inspiring Depression Tattoos

Each individual selects tattoos that are personally meaningful. They take many forms, from the simple to the ornate.

You’ll notice the semicolon symbol in many of the tattoos below. This semicolon has become a powerful symbol of mental health struggles. The semicolon is a type of punctuation used to indicate a strong pause between two complete sentences. A writer could choose to end a sentence; instead, though, they choose to pause rather than end. So, too, do many people struggling with depression. Rather than choosing to end their “sentence,” they see their illness as a pause, and then they keep going, keep surviving, keep living.

  • 1. Semicolon transforming into birds

Semicolon transforming into birds

  • 2. Semicolon sunflower

Semicolon sunflower

  • 3. PQRST waves

PQRST waves

  • 4. Fighter ]


Sometimes, tattoos are words. A single word, a phrase, an inspiring quotation, line from a book, or lyric from a song.

  • 5. Breathe

  • 6. Be strong

  • 7. I am enough

  • 8. And here you are living despite it all

  • 9. I’m fine/Save me

  • 10. Darling you’ll be okay

  • 11. I am terrified by this dark thing that sleeps in me

  • 12. I found within me an invincible summer

  • 13. Just live

  • 14. Still ill

  • 15. She is a soldier at war with herself ]

Tattoos can be simple, yet strong, symbols. Some people even depict serotonin and dopamine, the neurochemicals that can play a big role in major depression.

  • 16. Butterfly

  • 17. Green ribbon hope

  • 18. Person

  • 19. I am I am I am The Bell Jar

  • 20. Serotonin

  • 21. Serotonin with phrase

  • 22. Serotonin and dopamine

  • 23. Skeleton hand

  • 24. Storm cloud

  • 25. Storm cloud with sun ]

Depression tattoos can be elaborate, big and colorful with intricate designs covering large areas of the body.

  • 26. Ship in a bottle

article references

  • 27. Tapestry ]

For those who wish to express themselves and find inspiration through this art form but are unsure about the committing to something this permanent, consider trying your hand at temporary tattoos. Kits for creating beautiful, short-term tattoos are available from retailers. These look just like the real thing (they’re not the stickers of childhood), plus they offer the added benefit of allowing you to be the artist.

Tattoos are all different, and all are deeply personal and deeply meaningful. They have in common their symbolism and their ability to let people wear their heart on their sleeve and their soul on their skin.

For all their deep purpose, meaning, and expressive beauty, depression tattoos are powerfully simple in a very important way. If nothing else, tattoos about depression can be merely something that makes you happy and brings a little smile to your face when life does not.

APA Reference
Peterson, T. (2022, January 4). What Inspiring Depression Tattoos Do People Like to Get?, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, June 19 from

Last Updated: January 11, 2022

Medically reviewed by Harry Croft, MD

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