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Devon nail tech & mental health first aider on how to prioritise wellness in the salon

By Rebecca Hitchon | 10 October 2023 | Feature, Health & wellbeing, Salon & Spas

Mental Health Emily Harris

“While holding clients’ hands – quite literally for hours at a time, they can open up, allowing you to celebrate the ups in their lives, but also the downs,” says Emily Harris, owner of North Devon business, Vanity Nails & Tanning.

The passionate pro is a qualified mental health first aider with MHFA England, using this to elevate her client experience. However, she stresses that this does not make her a qualified therapist or doctor.

“I want my salon to feel like a safe space, where everyone can thrive with zero stigma surrounding mental health. So, it made sense to gain a better understanding of mental health in order to truly help my clients,” she comments, when asked why she chose to undertake the training. “My clients appreciate that they can talk to me without fear of judgement and knowing that what we discuss is confidential, unless it is felt they are a potential risk to themselves or others.”

“Nobody should feel that they have nowhere to turn. My mental health qualification allows me to help clients to receive the support they need, such as from their GP, helplines or friends and family.”

Emily offers gel polish, builder gel and L&P acrylic services, as well as spray tanning, in a 1983 two berth caravan, which was largely renovated by her husband, Michael, before the nail tech decided on the interior design.

“I strive to make Vanity Nails & Tanning inclusive to all clients – not just those struggling with their mental health, and I decided to offer silent appointments, as I’m aware that not everyone likes small talk, or sometimes clients want to chill out after a busy day,” she says.

A graphic used to market the salon’s silent appointments.

It’s not just the mental health of clients that is a priority to Emily, as she notes how important it is for nail techs to check in with their own mental wellbeing. “Ask yourself if you are ok. Do you need to step back, have a break and get some headspace? Be mindful of anything that a client shares that may be triggering for you, as it’s vital to have boundaries,” she advises.

Inside Vanity Nails & Tanning’s caravan setup.

Follow Vanity Nails & Tanning on Instagram and Facebook.

Click here to learn more about becoming a mental health first aider with MHFA England.