Raising awareness of men's mental health

Posted by Devon Partnership Trust in Mental health, News on 22nd February, 2019

Last week Dr Peter Aitken joined The Lions Barber Collective to speak with the Duke of Cambridge in London to raise awareness of men's mental health.

The Lions Barber Collective is an international collection of top barbers who have come together to help raise awareness for the prevention of suicide and provide training for barbers, called BarberTalk.

The collective, now a registered charity, was founded by Brixham barber Tom Chapman who was inspired to help following the suicide of a close friend in 2014 when he was 27.

Tom, along with Dr Peter Aitken, travelled with Dean and Paul from Devon who are recovering thanks to the Lions Barber's intervention. Prince William spent an hour talking to Dean and Paul about their recovery stories and to the barbers who have helped.

Peter said: "The Lions Barber Collective were delighted to be invited to meet with the Duke of Cambridge Prince William and the Royal Foundation in Pall Mall Barbers in Paddington, London. The Duke has taken a leading interest in men's mental health and suicide prevention as part of the Foundation's Heads Together campaign."

BarberTalk is a training programme which has been developed with other mental health charities. The training aims to enable barbers to recognise symptoms of poor mental health and talk to and advise their clients when they are sat in the barber’s chair about mental health issues. They feel there is a strong bond between barber and client, allowing many people to open up and discuss subjects they wouldn't usually discuss with friends or family.

Peter said: "This is a great example of a programme being delivered ‘where men are’, in settings they are familiar with and in a non-traditional way."