Due to a grant from the National Lotto Community Fund, The suicide prevention charity Lions Barber Collective is running more free BarberTalk Online training session for any hair professional across the UK during this lockdown. In the first lockdown, the charity worked with NHS SW Mental Health Clinical Network and Health Education England to redevelop the BarberTalk training so that it could be delivered online, via Zoom. This took advantage of the fact that hair professionals were made to shut their doors and hang up their shears, giving them the opportunity to gain the skills they will need for the difficult conversations they have behind the chair post-lockdown. Imagine having the ‘How was lockdown for you?’ conversation 10–20 times a day, everyday.
The BarberTalk Online training empowers hair professionals to be able to recognise the signs that someone may be struggling. Then be able to ask them the right questions, giving them permission to talk. Most importantly listen with empathy and without judgement, not saying ‘I know how you feel!’ but instead letting people know, ‘I don’t know how you feel but I am willing to listen and try to understand.’ Finally giving the participants the knowledge to what resources are available should they need more help. We are not trying to make hair pros into psychiatrists or therapists but instead bridge the gap between the community they serve and the resources that are available.
‘When we are trained as hairdressers or barbers there is a section on physical health and safety, we learn about skin conditions and lice, but I have only come across a few of those things in my nearly 20-year career behind the chair. We are not prepared for the conversations we have every day, multiple times a day. I can remember being scared of what to say or what to do when I had someone in my chair going through something, it was more often than you think!
We know that this training gives hair professionals the skills to feel confident in themselves, what questions they can ask and also liberates them from the fear of saying something wrong. It has also saved lives. We deal with peoples mental health every day, everyone suffers loss, has nerves or struggles from time to time and we share some of lives biggest moments with our clients. I’ve lost count of pre-wedding stress or pre-baby, nerves and worries conversations I’ve had for example,’ says Tom Chapman, founder of The Lions Barber Collective & BarberTalk.
Recently a special BarberTalk Online Session was held with celebrity hairstylists and high profile barbers to help raise awareness about what the hair industry is capable of, and that they are more than ‘just a barber/hairdresser’, they in fact change and save lives.
‘The training is great fun and only 3.5 hours, plus you get a certificate and a fantastic pin badge to let everyone know you’re BarberTalk trained!’ says ab anonymous barber
‘Mental health awareness is so important, especially at this time. I think it’s very important for hairdressers to be aware, it’s a great initiative by Lions Barber Collective to be talking about these things and especially to help us talk to our clients,’ says celebrity hairdresser Errol Douglas MBE.
Hair salons and barbershops are everywhere, from tiny hamlets to huge cities, how great would it be if all them were an easy to access, safe space for their communities to talk, and be heard?
To book, search ‘BarberTalk’ on Eventbrite. The first two sessions have already sold out, therefore they will continue to add dates until they no longer sell out to ensure everyone who wants to receives the training.
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