bebop Launch ‘Hair & Mental Health’ Education Campaign
bebop has recently launched ‘Hair & Mental Health’, a mental health education campaign providing hairdressers with additional help and training in the salon, as well as presenting the initiative to the hairdressing NVQ.
Having witnessed the strain of their hairdressers upon returning to the salon, director Pont Smith and stylist D’Arcy Liddle decided to increase their mental health offerings for staff. bebop’s new ‘Hair & Mental Health’ education features mental health exercises, in-depth consultation training, ‘positive and negative language guide’, client and stylist relationship advice, how-to guide on dealing with uncomfortable situations, general wellbeing tips and advice on body language.
To better understand how to start to navigate mental health education for hairdressing, Pont & D’arcy created two surveys of 10 questions each to gather specific data on industry opinion – one for consumers and one for professionals. D’arcy also attended a two-day Mental Health First Aider Course through MHFA England, equipping D’arcy with the skills needed to support her own and others’ well being in the salon.
Following the success of the training, Pont and D’arcy are currently in talks with City & Guilds to include this education on the hairdressing NVQ. bebop’s ‘Hair & Mental Health’ education will also soon be available as a one-day course.
On their motivation for starting the campaign, Pont shared: “The first week back in the salon was difficult – it was almost like we had forgotten how to do our jobs. We had to overcome a lot of anxieties and face a lot of fears that not only we had developed but also our clients had developed”.
Pont recalls a particular situation with a client from the first few weeks of reopening: “One of our senior stylists, Anthony, had a client unfortunately tell him that he was in the last stages of cancer and wanted his hair to look great for his funeral photos.”
“Anthony went above and beyond for him – making sure he was enjoying his time in the salon by getting him drinks, changing the salon’s music to his taste and keeping his experience positive,” Pont continued. “Once the client had left, I went to see how Anthony was doing in our staff room and I could see how affected he was by it – when you care about what you do, it takes a big emotional toll.”
“Isolation, loss of income, bereavement and fear are triggering mental health conditions and even aggravating existing ones,” D’arcy explains. “Many people turn to alcohol and drug use as a coping mechanism, inducing more insomnia, anxiety and depression. This is why hairdressers need education on how to deal with these situations with clients and also how to deal with your own mental health”.
“We need to make sure that mental health education starts from the beginning for our apprentices, to help give them the skills early on to develop as a hairdresser,” Pont finishes.