Barbershops are interesting places to observe. Barbers and patrons smack talk, tease and banter with each other. A relaxing place to sit back, watch, and get a haircut. It’s the last place I’d think people, especially males, would talk about their mental health.
The Lions Barber Collective
The Lions Barber Collective, an organization, founded in Torquay, England by Tom Chapman, plans to change that image. The charity’s goal is to transform barbershops into safe havens for males to talk about their mental health with their barber and to raise awareness about the prevention of suicide.
Chapman came up with the idea for the Collective from a comment on Facebook. He was trying to put together a lookbook that would show work from barbers from the U.K. and Ireland, with some of the revenue donated to charity. He posted in the New World Barbers Facebook group, asking for charity suggestions, and one member recommended giving the money to a suicide prevention group- an issue that affected him personally since his friend, Alex, died by suicide.
The Collective has raised awareness with a variety of different events. It has teamed up with The Bluebeards Revenge men’s grooming and skincare line to promote awareness through the imaginary and information on the brand packaging. It also BarberTalk, a training program that allows barbers to “recognize, talk, listen, and advise” their customers when they are in the chair.
After further reading about The Lions Barber Collective, I understand why barbershops can be nonjudgemental places for males to open up about their feelings. It’s one of the few places where men can relax in an intimate space and be themselves.