Take a look ?????How to look after your mental health using exercise | Mental Health Foundation https://t.co/zo11qRtgkB
— The Lions Barbers (@TheLionsBarbers) August 4, 2017
Mental health problems are said to affect one in four people in the UK yet some still feel unable to talk about the issues they’re going through.
According to MIND – the mental health charity – the overall number of people with mental health problems has not changed significantly in recent years, but worries about things like money, jobs and benefits can make it harder for people to cope.
For men, discussing anxiety, depression and mental distress is still seen as weak and the pressure to ‘man up’ remains pervasive – these types of expectations are killing too many men, with suicide the leading cause of death of British men under the age of 50.
For these reasons, one barber decided to turn his barbershop into a ‘safe space’ where men could visit and talk about their mental health.
Tom Chapman set up The Lions Barber Collective so that customers could visit and have their chance to freely discuss their problems and issues in an environment where others would be facing the same challenges.
Tom runs a professional training programme which teaches other barbers to ‘recognise, talk, listen and advise’ clients and works alongside the Samaritans charity.
Research has found that barbers are in a very unique position to help men battle with depression.
A survey commissioned by the Lions Barber Collective and The Bluebeards Revenge male grooming brand has revealed that more than half of British men feel more comfortable discussing sensitive mental health issues such as depression with their hairdressers than their doctors.
One of those men is Paul Richards, who found himself battling depression and contemplating suicide, before finding Tom’s salon.
Speaking to the Metro, Paul said:
I told my parents I didn’t want to be alive anymore and that I wanted to kill myself.
I went and saw the GP who prescribed me Citalopram and suggested that I get counselling. The next day I phoned up and self-referred and a couple of weeks later got an appointment.
I then spoke to Tom and thanked him for making me realise it’s okay to talk about my mental health problems and it is not something to be ashamed of.
If I hadn’t seen Tom that day and then read about the Lions Barber Collective, I probably would have done something stupid
Experiencing anxiety and depression has made me passionate about helping to lift the stigma around mental health.
The work the lions have done so far made it possible for me to talk to my girlfriend, family and friends and in doing so allowed them to offer me the necessary support to get through it.
If you’ve been affected by any of the issues raised in this article then please contact the Samaritans on their free phone number, 116 123.