For one woman in Wisconsin, a recent new haircut and color was a life changing moment and for the most unexpected reason.
A stylist at the salon in Ulta Beauty in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, shared her experience styling a woman with major depression on social media who she said she first noticed in February.
Kate Langman wrote in the Facebook post about a week ago that she saw a woman, whose name she withheld to maintain her privacy, scanning the product shelves at the salon who she approached to see if she could help. Soon, she said she became deeply invested in the woman's story.
She wrote that the woman told her that she was suffering from major depression and hadn’t been able to get out of bed — or brush her hair — for about six months, which caused her hair to turn into a tangled matted mess.
“The bun was so matted that it felt like she literally had rocks on the back of her head,” Langman wrote on Facebook.
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Knowing hair products could only do so much, Langman scheduled an appointment with the woman for the following day.
But the woman didn’t show for her appointment and missed another scheduled appointment a few weeks later. “At this point I figured she wasn't going to ever end up coming in,” Langman wrote on Facebook. “It actually, kind of, broke my heart. I wanted to help her so much.”
The woman returned to the salon on March 9, and Langman was ready to help. After spending more than eight hours with her client, Langman transformed the woman’s hair into stylish waves with pink tips.
Langman’s post struck a chord on social media, garnering 36,000 likes and was shared more than 16,000 times.
“By the end of this service, I could see the sparkle in her eyes and I could see her cheeks get rosy pink from the excitement of not only being able to run her fingers through her hair again, but she felt herself again,” Langman wrote. “I changed someone's life today.”
While many commented to thank Langman for her service, others noted that they had experienced similar symptoms while suffering from depression. “I've got manic depression [and] can't get out of bed…and things like hair washing is a big burden,” a Facebook user commented.
“I too suffer and know how this women feels, the daily struggle of do [I] want to even get out of bed,” another Facebook user commented. “I can assure you made a huge difference for her mentally.”
About 16 million adults live with major depression in the United States, according to the National Alliance on Mental Health.
Women are twice as likely as men to suffer from depression, the Mayo Clinic reports. Depression symptoms vary from person to person and along with feelings of sadness and hopelessness can also include decreased energy, difficulty making decisions, and oversleeping.
“Clinical depression is debilitating in a person’s life,” Theresa Nguyen, the vice president of Policy and Programs for Mental Health America, told ATTN:. “It makes it hard to get up in the morning, to maintain your normal relationships with people you love the most.”
Nguyen added that for those suffering from major depression simple activities like showering or going outside can seem foreign, and the routine of staying in bed all day can be difficult to break.
For those suffering from major depression, mental health experts recommend taking small steps — like moving the alarm clock across the room, going outside, or even getting a haircut.
If you or someone you know has symptoms of depression, reach out to the National Alliance on Mental Health by calling 1-800-950-NAMI for assistance.