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Staffordshire barbers urged to join life-saving campaign

Charitable organisation Brighter Futures is looking to join forces with Staffordshire barbershops this World Mental Health Day to raise the profile of men’s mental health and raise awareness of the support available locally. The goal is to save lives.

The second part of the ‘Mate, you don’t seem yourself’ campaign is asking barbershops and hairdressers to come together and be a source of support. They will be offered free drinks mats and mental health training through the Suicide Prevention Partnership.

The first part of ‘Mate, you don’t seem yourself saw pubs come together with the same life-saving goal.

The bond between a barber and client is like no other; a chance to both talk and listen. It’s estimated that people in the hair industry listen for on average 2000 hours a year and a chance to do something special: recognise where someone may be struggling.

It’s rare that people share time together without interruptions and it’s important to make as many opportunities as possible to take care of each other, listen, and ask how each other are doing.

Recent figures released by the Staffordshire Mental Health Helpline show more men are making contact and reaching out for support. The number of male callers has increased each month since April – a trend that must continue if we’re to break the stigma.

Sophie Henaughan, Manager of the Suicide Prevention Community Champions Project at Brighter Futures, says:

“Both barbershops and hairdressers have an important part to play. It’s not just about the 15 minutes that they’re sat in the chair – it’s the human interaction. It might be the only person someone speaks to that day.

“The relationship between a barber and client is unique and a bond that’s been built up over time. It’s a rare chance for people to talk and listen to each other. People tell their barbers things they don’t normally talk about without realising. Even things that affect their mental health.

We want people to lead healthy lives by encouraging more people to speak out and talk about their mental health. Just one conversation could save a person’s life. It is only by talking about this epidemic that we can begin to build public awareness, reduce stigma, and develop ways to tackle this very real and preventable cause of death.”

‘Mate, you don’t see yourself’ is one of several #TalkSuicide projects in Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire. #TalkSuicide is a community campaign bringing together people, organisations, and businesses to promote better mental health. To get involved with ‘Mate, you don’t seem yourself, contact Sophie.Henaughan@brighter-futures.org.uk.

For more information visit: www.staffordshire.gov.uk/doingourbit/get-inspired/health-and-wellbeing/TalkSuicide/home

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