You’ve worked to spread mental health awareness in the hair industry; what’s led you to expand into beauty?
“Mental health is an important topic for us all. We often don’t expect it when issues such as suicide arise, so I believe we need to be the eyes and ears of the community, and what better place to start than with beauty therapists, as well as hairdressers and barbers? Many are reluctant to engage in psychiatry and our salons are places for people to visit that are non-clinical and non-judgmental. That’s also why I started the Collective Pride Awards.”
What is the objective of the Collective Pride Awards?
“These new awards will champion the most compassionate people in the industry.
We’re great at celebrating technical prowess and creative geniuses – which we definitely should – but I wanted to underline how empathetic and caring our industries are, no matter how small or big people think those achievements are.
“We really underestimate how huge of an impact we have on people’s lives. It’s for those who are making a difference in their communities and those who don’t have tens of thousands of pounds to enter photoshoot-based competitions.”
What are small changes people can make within the industry to improve mental health?
“My friend Dr Peter Atkin, who was head of PPE and mental health for a Nightingale Hospital during the pandemic, created something called ‘mental health PPE’. This would mean pairing staff up with a buddy that checks in with them every day, asking questions such as: how are you feeling? How was your journey to work? Just giving them that opportunity to talk if they need to. I think this is a great idea beauty and hair businesses could employ. Another thing to do is to check websites such as hubofhope. co.uk, which is a directory that lists mental health resources in geographical order.”
How can managers look after their own mental health as well as their teams?
“Someone told me that you can’t pour from an empty cup, which means you can’t keep giving if you have nothing yourself. As a manager, you are not only taking on clients’ issues but your staffs’ too.
“It’s very important that you take regular time out and look into the five steps of mental wellbeing suggested by the NHS, which includes connecting with others, physical activity, never stopping learning, giving to others and being present. I have a book coming out soon which goes into these steps in more detail.”
You’ve linked with Champneys to do some exclusive mental health training. How will that work in practice?
“Champneys approached us through various networking events and we’re looking at creating a mental health qualification that can go into beauty salons, spas and more. Dealing with mental health is a daily occurrence and I believe making it part of the curriculum, like physical health and safety, is the only way of making long-lasting change. Just think what it would be like in 20–30 years if everybody had these skills and if we were having these open conversations.”
Professional Beauty Group is the official media partner for the Collective Pride Awards. Visit collectiveprideawards.co.uk to nominate yourself or others. Entries close on November 15, 2021.