On the 10th of October, the whole world recognised World Mental Health Day and this year’s theme is ‘Suicide Prevention’, as set by the World Federation for Mental Health. According to the World Health Organisation, every 40 seconds someone loses their life to suicide. More than 800,000 people die by suicide a year, making it the principal cause of death among people 15- to 29-years-old.
For our fourth episode of A Different Me, I spoke to Tom Chapman who is the founder and CEO of the organisation The Lions Barber Collective. The aim of the Lions is to provide a safe place for men to talk about their mental health in a safe place with the barbers helping to prevent suicide, one haircut at a time.
Tom’s idea started off by collecting images for a barber look book that would raise money for charity. When someone suggested raising awareness for suicide it hit Tom personally- he had recently lost a friend to suicide, someone that he didn’t even know was suffering and he realised he didn’t know of any charity locally that was supporting such an important issue.
Although it is great that we have a day dedicated to this very important issue, it is important that we take care of ourselves and others every day. The Lions Barber Collective is a group of international barbers that provide an informal way to talk about men’s mental health.
Barbers are in a unique position to help their clients; through the trust and bond they build with them. There is an incredibly strong relationship between client and barber, where clients become friends and can share aspect of their lives with them, then walk out the shop and leave it behind knowing it goes no further because of client confidentiality and the fact that barbers are often not in their social circle.
The Lions Barber Collective has gone from strength to strength and has held some amazing fund raisers along the way all in the name of suicide prevention. We hope you enjoy Tom’s story of how The Lions Barber Collective has grown and has become such an amazing charity and movement, preventing suicide one haircut at a time.
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