That’s a simple one, because I’m a barber! Having previously worked with charities aiming to encourage men to speak to me in the barber shop through local and national press, it became clear me that I personally need to include barbering in my efforts to tackle the issues surrounding mental health. It’s something I expected of myself.
The Barber’s chair is one of the most male dominated situations, where we can help each other. Leaving behind any embarrassment or feelings of weakness. Speaking to men while I cut their hair, I’ve already broken down some hidden walls to a more open and honest conversation. It’s just us here. We understand each other. Most importantly, we understand the pressures men often feel to put on a ‘brave face’.
The barriers to speaking openly about mental health disproportionately affect men in our society. So breaking these down to allow men and boys to take care of their mental wellbeing without fear or shame is the only hope we could ever have to eradicate the unavoidable consequences of these hidden illnesses. It’s one such tangible effect of this epidemic that the Hermes Project is focused on: the impact on children coping with parental suicide.
When I was brainstorming the project, and writing out how I wanted to provide help to those left behind by suicide, I got a phone call from Middlesex University, asking if I could arrange a mental health barber shop “pop up”. As I began organising the event, I had a lightbulb moment…
What if I could use this project to help more men speak, by bringing it to them in their place of work or education?
What if universities and businesses could show that they care, by paying for men to get a haircut with a barber who’s trained in mental health?
What if I could use such events to fund the Hermes Project, and ultimately provide that desperately needed support to those bereaved by parental suicide?
As if by magic, social media light up and people loved this idea. I couldn’t believe that a simple idea could grow so quickly, and I am extremely grateful to everyone who has helped the Hermes Project become a reality. As The Hermes Project grows, these mental health focused events will be crucial to the success and continuing provision of support for the children who really need need it. So whether you work for a university, own a business or even run a club…
Isn’t it about time we all show that we are proactive, rather than reactive, when it comes to mental health? Book a mental health barber shop pop up! We’d love to come and visit you!