Barbers launch mental health campaign

As clients return to barbershops across the UK, Lions Barber Collective has launched the #OurDoorIsOpen campaign to inspire men to open up about mental health. 

The Lions Barber Collective #OurDoorIsOpen initiative is being supported by barbers across the UK in a bid to ensure those whose mental health has been badly affected by lockdown get the support they need.

Devon-based barber, session stylist, educator and salon owner, Tom Chapman set up The Lions Barber Collective after the death of his friend Alex. Suicide is the biggest killer of men aged under 45 in the UK yet only 28% of those have had contact with mental health services.  

The charity now runs The BarberTalk and Hair&BeautyTalk training series which aims to arm barbers, hair and beauty professionals with the skills to recognise signs of poor mental health in their clients, ask direct questions to facilitate conversation, listen with empathy and without judgement, and help to signpost clients to the support they need.

Commenting on the #OurDoorIsOpen initiative, Founder and CEO of The Lions Barber Collective, Tom Chapman, says: 

“When we opened up again in July (2020), 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 when barbers reopen in April, while also giving barbers themselves access to tips and training they need to be able to listen and support those who are still struggling.”

Tom adds: 

“A barber can see up to 200 people a week! Although majority of the industry will see about 12 people a day and in a post lockdown world opening hours will be extended to fit in their desperate clients. The hair & beauty industries reach is just phenomenal with an infrastructure that is accessible to most.”

To donate £5 to help train and support more UK barbers, text THELIONS to 70970.