“We’re a family here” - salon encourages customers to be open about mental health

Katie Scarfe and Laura Bull of CODE Hair Consultants, whose initiative is designed to get people tal

Katie Scarfe and Laura Bull of CODE Hair Consultants, whose initiative is designed to get people talking about mental health. Picture: Thomas Chapman - Credit: Archant

Employees at a hair salon have rolled out a new initiative designed to get people talking about mental health.

CODE Hair Consultants, in Oulton Broad, has been encouraging both workers and customers to speak more openly about issues that are affecting them.

The idea was the brainchild of colour director, Katie Scarfe, who attended a 'mental health first aid' training course with a view to creating a basic awareness in the salon.

'Katie came to me with an idea about introducing a mental health initiative and we discussed how we could do more to recognise mental health in the workplace,' said salon owner, Laura Bull.

'We wanted to create a safe and friendly space where everyone feels comfortable. If you're a young girl who is maybe not used to facing members of the public, it can be very daunting to start working in a salon.'

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To help educate her co-workers, Mrs Scarfe gave a presentation and used her newly-acquired knowledge to teach them about ways of looking after themselves, as well as advanced listening and behavioural techniques.

The initiative has since grown from strength to strength, helping not just employees with their concerns, but customers too. A wellbeing box and mood board are available for those who need them, while anyone preferring a private environment can book an isolated appointment.

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'The more educated you are about mental health, the more you realise it has the potential to affect everyone,' said Mrs Scarfe.

'We're not a diagnosis facility, but we are a support network. We're a family here and everyone that sits in front of us is someone's family member, so we want to look after them like one of our own.'

While CODE's focus on mental health has received widespread praise in the community and on social media, the salon has also been able to combat preconceived notions about the hair care industry.

'This is an attempt to change the face of the industry because there is a perception that it can be quite judgemental,' said Mrs Bull. 'We want people to be aware that there is a no-judgement policy.'

Mrs Scarfe added: 'People have been coming in and telling us things they haven't told anyone else. We've had such an impact and we really feel like we're giving something back to the community.'

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