11 November 2019

Barbers aim to ‘cut’ male suicide

Lions Barbers

Barbers across North Somerset are being encouraged to get involved in a campaign to address male suicide and promote good mental health.

As part of the annual Movember campaign to raise awareness of men's physical and mental health, an evening of men's mental health education is taking place in Weston-super-Mare on Tuesday 12th November.

Organised by Avon and Wiltshire Mental Health Partnership (AWP) NHS Trust and Warriors of Wellbeing, the event is being supported by the Lions Barber Collective, an internationally renowned group of barbers who have come together to educate other barbers about how they can talk to their clients about their feelings with the aim of preventing suicide.

Dr Tiff Earle, Consultant Psychiatrist at AWP, said: 'Suicide is the single biggest killer of men under the age of 45 in the UK. We believe that barbers are in a really good position to start a conversation with their clients, so we want to provide them with the tools and skills to be able to encourage men who are having their hair cut to open up and talk about their feelings."

The Lions Barber Collective will be at Weston-super-Mare Museum where they will be demonstrating how barbers can begin to start their conversation and what they can do to help someone who may be struggling.

Tom Chapman founded the Lions Barber Collective in the South West and recognises the symptoms of mental ill health.

He said: "As barbers we are in a unique position to help our clients, through the trust and bond we build with them. They share aspects of their lives with us, then walk out leaving it behind knowing it goes no further."

The free event, which takes place between 7pm and 9pm, will include a presentation from award winning poet Scott Cowley, who has written about his experiences of mental health difficulties and a short film from San Francisco Police Officer Kevin Briggs highlighting his life saving techniques while working on the Golden Gate Bridge.

Pearson Dolby, a mental health nursing student at the University of the West of England (UWE), will also provide a personal insight into dealing with his first-hand experience of loss in the student community and what he thinks young people, parents and lecturers need to know.

The 'Barbers Talk to Save Men's Lives' is taking place on Tuesday 12th November, 7pm-9pm, Weston-super-Mare Museum, Burlington Street, Weston-super-Mare, BS23 1PR. Admission is free, with money raised on the night being donated to AWP's official charity Headlight, which funds projects and equipment to enhance care and support recovery for AWP patients.

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