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Counselling From Your Barber: The Lion’s Barber Collective

Thursday, July 14th, 2016

Barbers are coming together to prevent male suicide.

The Lions Barber Collective Logo

The Lion’s Barber Collective Logo

Barber Tom Chapman has set up a collective of professionals to raise awareness for this issue.

It all started when, Torquay based, Tom Chapman lost his close friend to suicide last year, after that he decided to launch The Lion’s Barber Collective. Suicide is known to be the biggest killer of men under 45 in Britain and they want to kick the stigma of speaking out about how you may be feeling.

The collective was launched in September 2015 and it coincided with World Suicide Prevention Day. It’s made up of 30 barbers from all over Europe who have a passion for the prevention of male suicide and want to raise more awareness for mental health. They want to use their platform to provide a counselling service through barbers, they hope this will allow men to talk with their barber about their problems more openly and in an environment that they are comfortable in. They’ve named the initiative BarberTalk.

Tom Chapman

Tom Chapman

In an interview with Huffington Post last year, Tom Chapman said:

“We already have the trust of our clients and we are in a unique position that we must morally take advantage of – so we can help our clients and provide a safe place to talk,”
“Over time we can smash the taboo and make it okay for men to share their emotions with one another.”

Working with his business partner, Pat, Chapman set up the BarberTalk training programme. This will teach barbers how to identify men who need help, talk to them, listen and advise them. Clients with depression or other mental illnesses will have a safe place and a way to talk about their issues.

lions barber collective

Torquay footballer Angus MacDonald visiting The Lion Barber Collective

Chapman went on to say:

“We know that barbers do not have the time or official training to become councillors,”
“But they will be able to be that first step and point people in the right direction.”

Over 1600 people commit suicide each year and in the UK someone takes their life every 120 minutes. The majority of these people are men. Its important that people discuss their mental health and this collective is important for giving men a place to do just that.

You can watch a video created by Channel 4 about the collective below. In it, Paul Richardson explains his own struggle with depression and how The Lion’s Barber Collective helped him.

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