With the rise in mental health awareness and the impact it can have not only on the individual suffering, but for those that love and care for them, more and more companies are taking it upon themselves to raise awareness of this invisible disorder.
One of these inspiring companies is CODE Hair in Oulton Broad, Suffolk, where the team are helping to change mental health perceptions and raise awareness throughout their community.
Here, CODE team member, Katie Scarfe shares how the salon is supporting positive mental health.
I realise hairdressing is a people business. Not only do we care for our clients, we realise it’s important to care for each other. We are a family. To the point, I caught one of them wearing my lipstick. We support each other by talking it out and trying to understand each other. The mental health awareness course covered basics of reasons why someone would behave angrily, dismissive or shut down, and how to react in response to defuse the situation and without taking it personally. How to support without judging and how to actively listen. Because sometimes, that’s all it takes.
What we didn’t realise is the impact we could have on the community and everyone we come into contact with and their general wellbeing. If we saw five clients a day, that would come up to 1,150 opportunities a year to make a difference individually, and that’s if you are lucky to get six weeks off a year. Approximately 1 in 4 people will experience a mental health problem each year. That’s approximately 287 opportunities a year. That’s why I feel so strongly about awareness.
In no way is this a diagnosis facility. This is knowledge that if someone came to you needing a listening ear or understanding, we could offer it. Having all the resources we need to send them in the right direction. No judgments, just support.
We all go through very similar experiences. We are a support network for each other, and who best to talk it out with than someone who gets it. This is an excellent support tool to identify each other’s strengths and work together stronger as a team who ‘get it’. We are glorified therapists without the training or support; we are the outlet for our clients, but who is the outlet for us? Having that backing and support is critical for self-care. Self-care isn’t selfish, it’s compulsory for a healthy lifestyle and good mental health.
One of the biggest reasons your client comes to you has nothing to do with a comb or a tint brush. You could be the best colourist, stylist, cutter in the world, but if you don’t connect with them on a personal level, they wont feel comfortable enough to let you continue their services. The point I’m making is, our competitive industry doesn’t mean we need to be against each other, we need to compete with our selves and value the fact that we are all in the same boat and could collectively make a difference to our clients and our next generation of hairdressers.
What else does CODE offer?
- CODE’s Wellbeing box, this box is available to all our clients, it has Sudoku, crosswords, adult colouring books, the Headspace app (I would highly recommend for any spare time if I’m honest, to just find ten minutes for yourself), USB ports built into the walls to connect your own devices, fidget spinners and play-doh. Having so much time to think while your hair is processing can be a challenging thought for some, this box provides things to keep your brain busy while your waiting.
- Silent service appointments - we get the information we need to know and let the client have headspace if that’s what they need.
- Quieter appointment times - sometimes the salon can be overwhelming when its busy and we get that.
Hairdressing is a people business. Hairdressers are one of the most creative, talented, multitasking and quite clearly, perfect in everyway (I joke), but sometimes we as hairdressers can be perceived in a negative way, as the industry can be quite competitive and demanding. Lets change this.