For many men, the prospect of sitting down and talking to their doctor about their mental health remains unimaginable, with more than half of British men feeling more comfortable discussing sensitive issues, such as depression, with their barber. This is why one barber, Tom Chapman, decided to utilise the special bond between a trusted barber and client and turn his barbershop into a safe space where men can talk about mental health.
The Lions Barber Collective is a collection of top barbers who have joined arms in an inspirational fight against male suicide, and as the single biggest killer of men under the age of 45 in the UK the need for this couldn’t be more pressing.
So far the group has had an enormous impact with men who traditional mental health services can struggle to reach. “Since starting the Lions Barber Collective I have had a huge increase in men opening up and offloading while sat in the chair. I think giving them the green light to talk is what is most important. It is something that we can all do with little or no training, just let people know that you’re willing to listen with empathy and without judgement,” says Chapman.
But despite the increase in opportunities for men to talk about suicide and mental health, Chapman feels there is still much more to be done: “I actually lost a close friend recently who I have worked with as a model for hair shoots and even with this opportunity to open up we still lost him. So hopefully we can work together to save one more life, then the next and so on. Together we are stronger.”
This year, to continue their fantastic work, The Lions have teamed up with British grooming brand The Bluebeards Revenge to create specially branded hair gel, with 50p from every purchase being donated to the charity. Get yours now in time for 10 September.