Barbers across the UK join forces to get men talking about mental health
W ith hairdressers and barbers finally opening their doors again this week, The Lions Barber Collective has launched a campaign to get men talking more openly about mental health.
The #OurDoorIsOpen campaign wants to ensure those whose mental health has been affected by lockdown get the support they need.
The Lions Barber Collective is a charity made up of a network of barbers that raise awareness for the prevention of suicide. It runs BarberTalk and Hair&BeautyTalk training for barbers, hairdressers, and beauticians to help them identify signs of poor mental health in their clients.
The training sessions include how to ask direct questions to get people to open up, how to listen with empathy and without judgement, and how to show clients where to get help or support if needed. This could be the person with the mental health problems themselves, or a friend or family member who is concerned about a loved one.
The Lions Barber Collective BarberTalk Training
The four pillars of the BarberTalk training course, created with clinical experts and psychologists, are:
4. Help to Help
Ultimately, it’s designed to help create safe spaces where men feel comfortable to talk about their mental health and can be signposted to support and information.
As The Lions Barber Collective website explains: “We don’t want barbers to become counsellors, however, we would love our industry to embrace the trust we have earned to make a difference and be able to become that first step on that journey, directing people in the right direction to where they can receive the help they need.
“Our dream is to roll this training out to all areas of the globe, creating safe places for people to go and talk about the issues they have with the people they trust, breaking the taboo and showing the world that it is ok to be not ok and to share their problems without fear of judgement.”
The story of The Lions Barber Collective
The Lions Barber Collective was founded by Torquay-based barber Tom Chapman after the death of his friend Alex in 2015. It has grown to a network of barbers and ambassadors across the UK, Europe, America, and Australia.
On the Collective’s website is a map that shows the location of some of these partners; people who support the Mental Wellbeing work of The Lions Barber Collective, have completed its BarberTalk or BarberTalk Lite training, and/or hold monthly Lions Dens drop-in support groups in their barbershops.
According to The Samaritans, suicide is a significant public health and social inequality issue. More than 6,000 people across the UK and Republic of Ireland take their own lives each year and tens of thousands more attempt suicide. Suicides are preventable with timely, evidence-based interventions.
Suicide is more common among men than women, and in particular men in their 40s and 50s from lower socio-economic groups.
Speaking to Voice Online, Chapman said: “When we opened up again in July, I cut a friend’s hair, he seemed fine when we had the consultation but once I started cutting his hair he started to cry. I stopped and asked him if there was something he’d like to speak to me about. His reply shocked me. He lived alone and this was the first human contact he had had in months.”
How to donate to The Lions Barber Collective
To find out more about The Lions Barber Collective visit the website. You can also donate to the Collective in a range of different ways.
- Buy The Lions Barber Collective merchandise
- Buy Tom Chapman’s book Barber Talk
- To donate £1, text THELIONS to 70201
- To donate £3, text THELIONS to 70331
- To donate £5, text THELIONS to 70970
- To donate £30, text THELIONS to 70191
The money raised goes towards training more hair professionals. The current fundraising goal is £1.7 million – this is the financial cost of a single suicide on the economy – and this would be enough to train 11,000 hair pros who could potentially reach more than 2,000,000 people every week.
The Lions Barber Collective Artistic Team will also be producing an annual Look Book in which members donate a hair image and the proceeds going to charities and future projects, training, and development.
When life is difficult, Samaritans are here – day or night, 365 days a year.
You can call them for free on 116 123, email them at email@example.com, or visit samaritans.org to find your nearest branch.
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