MEN MORE LIKELY TO ‘OPEN UP’ TO BARBER
MEN are more likely to turn to their barbers than their friends when times are tough, according to a new study. The survey was carried out by men’s mental health charity The Lions Barber Collective and men’s grooming brand The Bluebeards Revenge ahead of World Suicide Prevention Day.
By working together the team discovered that, out of 1,726 men in the UK, 92% declared they visit their barber shop or hair salon at least once per month.
This contrasts to the 70% who head to their local boozer within the same time frame, which highlights the strengthening relationship men now have with their barbers.
The Lions Barber Collective, which was founded by award-winning barber Tom Chapman, wants to make barber shops all over the world secure and non-judgemental spaces where men can “open up” about their personal lives.
Jac Ludlow, who runs Bojangles Barber Club in Griffithstown, Pontypool, said people wouldn’t believe the things barbers get told on a daily basis.
The 26-year-old barber has been involved with The Lions Barber Collective since it started.
He said: “People really do tell us everything.
“The thing is you build up a regular client base and you form a good level of trust with the people you serve.
“It’s so important that people open up – suicide is one of the biggest killers out there.
“But honestly, you wouldn’t believe the things that some people say to us.
“Some stories can be really funny, but you get others that are really sad.”
Charity founder Tom Chapman says the statistics highlight how important it is for men to have trustworthy relationships outside of their usual social circles.
He claimed barbers are in a “unique position” that allows them to talk about things with customers they would rarely discuss with other people.
The survey revealed that 58% of men still feel they cannot openly speak out about their mental health.
Research also found that men are more stressed today than they were 10 years ago, with 62% of those aged 35 or over saying they feel greater pressure in 2017 than they did back in 2007.
Aspects such as work and the rise of social media were said to contribute to increased stress levels.
Senior barber at Jones the Barber in Cardiff, Ross Jones said: “Marital or relationship concerns, serious health and family are the highest frequency concerns.
“I avoid expressing too much of my own opinion and never speak negatively about another person, customer or otherwise.
“This allows customers to feel more confident in expressing their own views.
“I make an effort to remember details that customers have shared.
“This is how relationships are built – by expressing a genuine interest in people’s lives.
“They feel valued as people, not just paying clients.”
Ross also said this type of environment can’t be created in all barber shops as talking in this way isn’t something that comes naturally to everyone.
He claimed it’s “hugely important” for there to be places and spaces for men to express themselves, but it shouldn’t be exclusive to barbers.
“But a male-only situation definitely helps,” he added.
According to reports from the Office for National Statistics men are still more than three times more likely to take their own lives than women, with middle-aged men being at greatest risk.
To talk about issues relating to mental health you can contact the Samaritans for free at any time on 116 123. You can also visit www.samaritans.org for more information.