May is Mental Health Awareness month, a time dedicated to raise awareness and reduce stigma around mental health. We’re honoring this important month by sharing an article written by Brittany Shadle, a hairstylist in New Caney, TX. This article shines a light on the impact of trauma for those who have experienced abuse and sexual assault. Brittany discusses the active steps she has taken to create a safe and supportive space for her clients, specifically by avoiding triggers that may impact their mental well-being. With these tips, hairstylists and salon owners can create an environment that is supportive and welcoming while also supporting mental health.
My name is Brittany, and I’ve created a unique standard for working behind the chair to ensure I avoid triggering my clients. A trigger can be an indirect or superficial remanence of a previous traumatic event.
1 in every 5 women have been sexually assaulted. 1 in every 3 have experienced domestic violence in a relationship. In almost every one of these situations, the woman is left with triggers from this traumatic experience.
Now compare that information with the number of women you had in your chair this week. In my opinion, it’s our responsibility in the beauty profession to take mindful steps in creating an enjoyable and safe experience for every person we interact with at work. Here are just a couple of examples of how I avoid triggering my clients:
- Always have robes as an option instead of a cape
- Lowering the music, or having it off completely (A lot of my clients bring headphones)
- Asking for consent to touch my client before starting
- Explain what’s going to happen next. Example: “I’m gonna turn the blow dryer on now, it might be loud. Is that ok?”
- Avoid pet names
- Also avoid unnecessary touching. Example: hand on shoulder etc.
- I make sure my client knows that asking for a break is absolutely welcomed
- Offer after-hour appointments to avoid social anxiety or fear of judgment from others
- Offer silent appointments
It might feel awkward at first, but once you practice these a couple of times it can become a standard for you too!