Preventing suicide one haircut at a time

Suicide is the leading cause of death for men under 50.

It touches all of us eventually in someway leaving those close to wonder what could I have done differently?

Tom Chapman is a Torquay-based barber who lost a friend to suicide and has made it his mission to propel the stigma of mental ill health among men into the mainstream. In 2015 founded the Lions Barber Collective, an international group of barbers who have undergone training in how to recognise symptoms of mental ill health in clients and signpost them to relevant support services. The group helps to raise awareness of mental illness and aims to prevent suicide by creating training that enables barbers to recognise, talk and listen out for symptoms of depression.

This week sports clothing retailer Gymshark opened its pop up barber shop Deload in Shoreditch London where the gymwear giant is providing a “non-judgemental safe space” for men to open up, offload and have a chat with professional mental health-trained barbers, while receiving a free trim. It is great to see brands like Gymshark work with the Lions Barber Collective.

​A Gymshark spokesperson expressed that “We want to talk about men’s mental health. We don’t talk about it enough – an awful lot of men are struggling.”
They explained that this is what inspired the retailer to launch Gymshark Deload, an innovative mental health initiative platform, which encourages young people to focus on their mental as well as their physical wellbeing. It provides content, stories and advice from wellbeing experts and medical professionals.

Lions Barber Collective runs other non-profit barbershops as places for haircuts and headspace with all the barbers being trained in the multi award winning and endorsed mental health support training, BarberTalk. By choosing a Lions Barbers you will be directly supporting the work of the charity, by paying for your haircut you are helping to save lives. Lions Barber Collective founder, Tom Chapman wanted to create value in return for donations to make the charity sustainable since its inception in 2015 and this is a step towards ensuring the longevity of the life-saving organisation. After the barbers are paid and all the bills are covered all profits left will be donated to raising awareness for suicide prevention and training more hair professionals in mental health support.

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