The Lions Barber Collective raising awareness for male depression and suicide

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The Lions Barber Collective is a group of passionate individuals raising awareness for men’s mental health and training barbers to recognise the signs within their clients. This enables them to offer their clients support and signpost them to the help they may need.

It all began in 2015 when founder of The Lions Barber Collective, Tom Chapman, gathered a group of top barbers with the vision of creating a hair cut based look book in aid of charity. Having recently lost an old friend to suicide Tom made the decision to use the look book to raise money for suicide prevention.

This concept got Tom thinking about his position as a barber and how he could use this position to help others by more that just giving them a great haircut. From his salon in Torquay, Devon, Tom began to focus on the relationship between barber and client and discovered an unspoken bond of trust. Upon reflection he realised clients talked to him about absolutely everything from birthday parties and holidays to work problems and relationship difficulties.

The connection a barber can make with their client is completely unique. The touching of the head releases oxytocin and creates a closeness putting the client at ease allowing them to feel safe. Simply by listening to their client and being able to recognise the signs a barber could save a life.

Since inception The Lions Barber Collective has grown rapidly into a movement that has attracted interest from barbers all over the world. We help to provide barbers with the skills and confidence to truly help others. One of our main aims is to raise awareness about suicide prevention and mental well-being. We do this by speaking publicly at industry events. We use this opportunity to remind barbers how privileged we are to share such an open connection with our clients and how much of an impact we can have on their lives.

Our second is to educate barbers using our BarberTalk Live and BarberTalk Lite training platforms. The purpose of these platforms is to provide the barbers with the necessary skills, and knowledge to help their clients. We arm them with the ability to recognise the signs and then to ask their clients direct questions if required.

Most importantly we demonstrate how to listen with empathy and without judgement and then how to help and signpost their client to the existing resources available.

We are not trying to make barbers into counsellors. It is more about encouraging barbers to befriend their clients, to look out for them and to be a good listener. Offloading our problems can do wonders for our mental health and because of our Pride growing in numbers we now have a wonderful support group within the industry to offer support for barbers too. In a way not seen before we have a team of barbers truly passionate about not only supporting their clients but supporting each other too.

We have partnered with Public Health UK to combine SafeTalk suicide prevention training with barbering demos from some of the hair industries finest to create BarberTalk Live.

This one day event arms barbers with suicide prevention skills to look after their clients mental health as well as practical industry skills to improve their clients hair cutting or shave experience too. We made the decision to make the BarberTalk Live training program completely free. This ensures that all barbers are able to attend and be trained in the necessary skills.

BarberTalk Light online awareness programme is a completely free and accessible way to ‘join the pride’.

By completing the 15 multiple choice questions you will receive a certificate, a window sticker and a place on our Lions map on the website, letting those know your chair is a safe space. We have over 80 places on the map with some as far away as Hawaii and New Zealand.

The Lions Den is a non-clinical support group by the Lions based within barber shops.

We hosted the first one from Tom Chapman Hair Design in Torquay back in 2015 and it was a huge sucess. Since then it has started to roll out across the UK with a number of our supporting barbers also offering this service.

A Safer & More Stylish World

WE DECIDED TO BECOME A REGISTERED CHARITY, WHICH HAS ENABLED US TO GROWEVEN MORE AND BUILD STRONG PARTNERSHIPS, INCLUDING THE WORSHIPFUL COMPANY OF BARBERS (A 700+ YEAR OLD LIVERY COMPANY FOUNDED BY HENRY VIII).

The WCoB started when barbers carried out medical work in the form of surgery and now 700 years later, long after the teeth pulling and blood letting ceased in the barber chair, we are taking our clients health back into our own hands by looking after their mental health and saving lives. We are currently working on many new projects including our new BarberTalk training which will be an online programme using the latest technology, including VR.

Lions Ambassadors

We are incredibly proud to now have over 20 Lions Ambassadors located across the UK and Ireland made up of top industry talent who have experience themselves and/or a strong passion for our mission to lower the taboo and stigma around mental health and suicide, train all the barbers in the UK and Ireland and save lives. These ambassadors include Leah Hayden Cassidy, Ky Wilson, Sam Wall, MK and many more.

The Shocking Reality

Suicide is the biggest killer in young people
over 1,600 people take their lives every year, in the UK with somebody taking their life every 210 minutes. Three quarters of these shocking statistics are men. It’s time we all did something about this…

Endorsements

The Lions Barber Collective have had coverage various radio stations multiple times as well as BBC TV, Channel 4, ITV, Fox News (USA), LAD Bible, national press and many other forms of media giving us a huge reach to spread our message world wide.

Points of Light Award
In 2017 Tom was honoured with a Points of Light award from Prime Minister, Theresa May, for his outstanding contributions in volunteer work carried out through The Lions Barber Collective.

HRH The Duke of Cambridge

Recently the work of The Lions Barber Collective was recognised by the Royal Family when HRH The Duke of Cambridge requested to meet with Tom Chapman, a selections of The Lions Ambassadors, Trustees and Volunteers of the charity in London to discuss our work and potential partnerships moving forward. Prince William sat with Trustee Paul Richardson and Lions Pride Award winner Dean Hamilton to listen to their personal stories about mental health and how the Lions Barber Collective have helped them.

It was an honour and a privilege to have someone from the Royal Family to take the time to come and meet us and recognise the work we are doing.

Collaborations

Bluebeards Revenge
Our partners at the Bluebeards Revenge have launched a new hair gel product in conjunction with us. The inside of the packaging contains a message from the Lions as well as the contact details for Samaritans to help people signpost others or get help for themselves, a percentage of the profit from each sale is donated to the charity.

Surveys carried out by The Bluebeards Revenge show that men would rather talk to their barbers than their GP about mental health.

Captain Fawcetts
We have also partnered with Captain Fawcetts and their Menthol Moustache Wac to raise additional funds and further increase awareness.

TEDX
Tom was invited to give a TEDx Talk at Exeter (the 4th most viewed TEDx in the world) about The Lions Barber Collective with 1000 people in the attendance and over 35000 watching via live stream.

Following the sucess of the TEDx Talk Tom was asked to write a book by mental health publishing company Trigger Press about the story of the Lions, his mental health and his work as a campaigner for suicide prevention.

We have featured on BBC Three Amazing Humans with well over one millions views and have featured on Channel 4 News with over 6million views on their Facebook video alone.

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