Suicide is the biggest killer of men under 45 years old and it is estimated that in the U.K. 1 in 8 men are diagnosed with a mental health illness at some point in their lives plus, in 2014, 74% of all suicide victims in the UK were male. In light of these terrifying statistics , the younger members of the British Royal Family, particularly Prince Harry’s recent comments have attracted praise from mental health experts after his interview with the Daily Telegraph’s Bryony Gordon in which he revealed how he sought counselling after coming close to a mental breakdown following the death of his mother.
Somebody who is determined to make a difference and do something positive about this problem is Tom Chapman, an inspirational barber who has set up his own men’s mental health awareness and suicide prevention movement, named The Lions Barber Collective.
Tom’s Lions Barber Collective is turning barbershops into safe spaces for men using the opportunity of a regular haircut to start conversations about mental health. The group is having an enormous impact with men who traditional mental health services can struggle to reach.
Tom organises a professionally run training programme, which is teaching barbers to ‘recognise, talk, listen and advise’ clients and works with the Samaritans charity – signposting the services they offer to clients in need.
In recognition of the impact the group is making, Tom has just been awarded a ‘Point of Light’ Award by Prime Minister Theresa May. This award recognises outstanding individual volunteers, who are making a change in their community.
Recent research suggests that barbers are in a very unique position to help men in their battle with depression. A survey commissioned by the Lions Barber Collective and The Bluebeards Revenge male grooming brand revealed that more than half of the men in Britain now feel more comfortable discussing sensitive mental health issues such as depression with their barbers/hairdressers than their doctors.
So please remember lads it’s good to talk and let’s encourage one and other to do so.