A charity created by a Torquay-based barber and focussing on men's mental health has launched a new, nationwide initiative.
Barbers throughout the UK have united in the #OurDoorIsOpen campaign inspiring men to open up about mental health.
Barbers are supporting those willing to discuss their mental health as millions of men get their first post-lockdown haircut.
The campaign is It is led by the Lions Barber Collective. After the death of his friend Alex, in 2015 Torquay-based barber Tom Chapman founded the charity to create non-clinical, non-judgmental safe spaces where men feel comfortable to talk about their mental health and can be signposted to support and information.
Tom 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.
"This made me determined to ensure that others in his position have someone they can talk to as barbers reopen this time around, while also giving barbers themselves access to tips and training they need to be able to listen and support those who are still struggling.”
The idea of #OurDoorIsOpen is to welcome customers back for a cut, and also a chat.
It is the latest initiative from the Lions Barber Collective which encourages barbers to create safe places for men to open up and offload, and provides training to empower the barbers themselves to listen, recognise the signs of poor mental health and signpost clients to support services.
Suicide is the biggest killer of men under 45 in the UK yet only 28 per cent of those have had contact with mental health services.
More than two thirds of adults in the UK report feeling somewhat or very worried about the impact of Covid on their lives.
To find out more visit https://www.thelionsbarbercollective.com/ or to donate £5 to help train and support more UK barbers, text THELIONS to 70970.
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