Barbers Hollie and Bobby of Fella Hair in The Borough with Alex (left) and Andy (right) of East Kent Mind
Three Canterbury barbershops have signed up to support customers struggling with anxiety and depression.
The innovative project is being developed by East Kent Mind and will train barbers to become Ambassadors of the charity and identify signs of depression, be non-judgemental listeners and effective at signposting.
So far five barbers from Fella Hair, Wincheap Traditional Barbers and the City Barbers have all agreed to take part, but project manager Simon Dolby says there is room for more.
Mr Dolby said: “Men are statistically more likely to discuss mental health issues with their barber than with their GP. This places barbers in a unique position to be able to help men battle anxiety and depression. This project aims to make barbers feel more confident about having conversations about mental health and more informed about who to refer customers on to for support.”
Barbers have a high follow-up rate with hairdressing clients – usually every four weeks they visit for another cut – providing opportunities to spot changes in mood or extremes such as too much sleep or not enough sleep, losing weight or gaining weight.
The project’s training will help barbers to recognise these signs and to ask clients how they are feeling, listen in a non-judgemental manner and be briefed where to signpost. Clients identified as in need are given information with details of East Kent Mind support plus other providers.
Barbershops in the Canterbury district and Thanet have an opportunity to get involved and should email email@example.com or visit www.eastkentmind.org.uk/barbershopproject