We love a story we read recently about The Lions Barber Collective, a group of top barbers from around the world dedicated to raising awareness for men’s mental health and preventing suicide.
Think about it…you’re getting your hair cut and the barber is making conversation. “What’s new?” “How’s work?” “What’s up with the fam jam?” I mean, you can only talk about split ends and receding hairlines for so long before conversation turns to the outside world. And if you’ve been your barber’s client for a while, he probably knows you pretty well and vice-versa.
And sitting in that chair with nothing to distract you, the truth can often come out.
The truth about your life, your struggles, your feelings – things that you may work hard to hide on a daily basis. It may be feeling stressed, worried, down, or anxious. It may be problems with your spouse or family. It may be thinking about suicide and feeling hopeless. Things that you are afraid to share or don’t know how to share or with whom. But with the captive ear and interest of the barber, out they come.
So the overseas-based Lions Barber Collective decided that barbers needed to be prepared to support their clients. The barbers who are part of the collective raise funds for local mental health charities in the United Kingdom and Ireland and provide training to barbers about mental health, suicide, and how to respond when someone needs help.
This. Is. Amazing.
Good on the Lions Barber Collective for recognizing, even embracing, that we can’t just rely on the “professionals” to support people living with mental health problems. Doctors, social workers, and counsellors aren’t always available and usually aren’t the first ones people turn to to talk about their struggles.
In fact, a study by the Lions Barber Collective shows that “more than half of British men feel more comfortable discussing sensitive mental health issues such as depression with their hairdressers than their doctors”. That’s a pretty powerful reason to pitch in and learn how to provide support and be the first step in someone getting the further help they need.
It’s not just barbers who can play that vital role. All of us, no matter what our job or position, may have the opportunity to provide a listening ear and supportive conversation to someone who wants to talk. So thanks, Lion Barber Collective, for the reminder. Read more about them here.
Check out our courses and workshops here to learn more about mental health and providing support.