Stephanie’s story

Stephanie, 35, from Kent is a celebrity nail artist who credits Samaritans for helping save her life.


“I’m a professional nail artist and have worked with some of the biggest names in the industry. I’ve worked at London and Paris Fashion weeks and some high-profile films. I love painting nails, it’s something that I’ve done since I was 5. I also love to chat. I think it’s great, you learn so much from others. I’m quite good at striking up a conversation and building a rapport with almost anyone. As a nail artist, small talk is one of the most powerful tools I have with my clients.


“Mental health is still sometimes a taboo. I’m often open about my own struggles with mental health and try and break the stigma as much as possible by sharing my experiences on my social media and being honest about how I’m feeling. I hope this encourages honesty for others too. The problem with the world today is that it can be a dark confusing place. All you can do is reach out and speak, hug the ones you love, lay the rocks you carry down and try to breathe.

“I signpost to Samaritans where I can because they helped me when I needed them most and continue to do so. I’m proof you can survive and you deserve all the light and love in the world. I was scared to share this at first but I’m proud of my journey.

“Having regular clients, I can often spot the signs if someone is struggling as they can do for me too. I try and help them to feel that I’m a safe space to open up to. I’ve had clients share with me that they are feeling suicidal before and we’ve been able to talk about that.

“I also have the option for clients to have ‘silent’ appointments, if someone needs some time or space to think and reflect, it’s important they can have that in our appointments. I also have calming music, healing crystals and aromatherapy oil options for the clients needing self-care.

Making small talk can be more than just polite – it can be life-saving. My advice to anyone that doesn’t know what to say or how to start a conversation with someone you think might be in distress, would be not to overthink it. You can’t make a situation worse by showing you care.

“Every day, I wake up and I’m so thankful for the life I’ve got. If you had said to me six years ago, this is where you are going to be, I would not have believed it.

“I had a turbulent childhood, and my upbringing affected my mental health in a negative way; things kept spiraling out of control and I would often feel hopeless. Christmas always felt like a particularly difficult time. In 2015, I was really suffering with my mental health and one day, I spent thousands on credit in a manic period. On Christmas Eve that year, it all got too much and I tried to take my life. I woke up the next day feeling very unwell, but I got dressed and went to my family’s for Christmas.

“I became good at putting on a front; my career and social life was thriving. I look back at the pictures and I’m smiling, but I wasn’t ok at all. That feeling built up and spilled over into the new year. 2016 was the lowest period for me and I tried to take my life again in 2016.

“My family found it hard to speak to me because they were hurt. I split up with my then-boyfriend, lost my support worker and GP. My friends were brilliant, but I didn’t want to put them under pressure, so I started to withhold how I still felt. In my mind, I’d exhausted all options for support. It was very isolating. I didn’t know who to speak to, so one night I called Samaritans and let everything out.

“I remember feeling embarrassed and it took me a good five minutes to feel like I could get in the swing of what I wanted to say, and I remember crying for a good while. After the call, I started laughing as I thought about the man that I’d poured my heart out to, but in my mind that was a good sign as it felt good to tell someone unreservedly how I felt and have someone listen.

“I realised I didn’t want to die, I just didn’t want to hurt anymore. This was a pivotal moment for me.  I’d encourage anyone that is feeling even just a little bit low to get help or call Samaritans. I called a lot in my recovery, but I wish I had called in the lead-up to 2016.

“I’ve had many years being in a dark and unstable place, but I’m not there anymore. I’m now in a place where I feel so happy and lucky. It’s a feeling I never thought I’d have. I’m in a strong place and I’m proud of that.

“Calling Samaritans saved me on more than one occasion when I felt close to the edge. Just having someone there to talk to had a huge impact on my mental health in a really good way.”

Need support? Call 116 123 to speak to a Samaritan or

view other ways to get in touch