Local hairstylists speak out about managing mental health

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Mental health is something many people have been talking about in recent years. In fact, 1 in 5 Americans struggle with it, according to the CDC.

When it comes to the impact one’s profession can have on their mental health, some feel there is one that often gets left out of the conversation.

“People are like, ‘Oh, you do hair.’ Yes, I do hair, but I also am a psychiatrist, a therapist, a fashion trend-setter for a lot of my clients,” said Kayla Dykema, Hair Concepts manager.

Hairstylists spend their days doing hair but also talking with people about their lives. As they build relationships with clients, things can get pretty personal.

“As you have three, four, five, six people in a day, sometimes you’re so happy with your customer because they’re pregnant. The next one comes in and their mom is dying, and they’re so sad,” said Clara Trottier, Hair Concepts owner.

She also tells us there are many layers beyond the ones they cut.

“We actually need a lot of education to be able to navigate through both the social skill aspect of it and skill level portion of it,” said Trottier.

So, should there be more resources available to help hair professionals navigate through these sometimes hairy conversations? Dykema says yes.

“In hair school, I feel it’s kind of the basics and the chemistry. I think mental health is such a big thing in this time of our lives right now, especially everything with the pandemic going on. We just maybe need a little assistance in learning how to cope with some of those things and offering words of advice and comfort,” said Dykema.

“It’s hard not to open yourself up to them, and so in turn, they obviously open themselves up to you.
So, it just becomes a friendship very easily. Sometimes I go home and tell my husband, and vent about this happened. I’m just so sad. And maybe not even sleep that night because you’re so sad for them,” said Trottier.

Melissa Hurt, who has been seeing the same stylist for eight years, tells us it’s all about being comfortable.

“You wouldn’t necessarily go to maybe your mechanic and talk about the same things that you talk about with hairstylists?”

“Well, that depends on who your mechanic is, I guess. No, I’m just kidding. I do think it’s a different relationship. You’re spending a significant amount of time with them over the course of years. Yeah, it’s definitely a relationship that’s unique. When you trust someone, you have to just keep coming back,” said Hurt.

Stylists at the salon say that while it can at times be challenging, they love what they do.

“I would say this job is so definitely rewarding, that the good days definitely outweigh the bad days,” said Dykema.

We reached out to a local beauty school to see if they had plans to incorporate more mental health training into their curriculum. They declined our request for an interview.

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