Barbershop owner Craig Henderson tells us about The Lions Barber Collective, a charity training barbers to raise awareness of mental wellbeing & suicide prevention.
Craig runs Craig’s Barbershop in Bolton, Greater Manchester and says he suffers from anxiety on a regular basis. Having lost clients and friends to drug and alcohol abuse and suicide in the past, he wanted to give something back and help other barbers to help their own clients.
He said: “I wanted to make my barbershop a safe place for men to use their appointment time to open up and for me be there to listen with empathy.
“I created a petition last summer to get people in the hair and beauty industry to undertake mental health training which caught the attention of an ambassador for The Lions Barber Collective charity.
“I did my research and I did the free online ‘BarberTalk Lite’ training the charity provides. I believed so strongly in the ethos of the charity, I wanted to be an ambassador so I reached out to founder Tom Chapman. He said I could become a prospect and build up to becoming an ambassador by fundraising, raising awareness, and attending events.
“Getting involved with The Lions Barber Collective has helped me massively as I suffer from social anxiety, which many of my clients don’t understand as I’m a barber and business owner. With the help of CBT (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy) and the Lions’ tools, it has helped combat my anxiety on a daily basis.
“When I’m with my clients, I am an open book and always tell my clients everything that has happened in my life, which seems to break down that wall with them.
“Sometimes you just need to greet someone with a ‘How are you feeling today?’ instead of ‘Hey mate’ to help you instantly gauge how your client is that day. Then you know how to take the conversation with your client.”
The four pillars of the BarberTalk training are: Recognise, Ask, Listen & Help. You can take the BarberTalk Lite training online and it’s free. It’s a short four-video guide which takes around 20 minutes and will enable you to help your clients, colleagues and anyone else by being able to recognise if they are in need. The more barbers and hair professionals we can encourage to take the training, the more lives we can potentially save once our salon doors are open again.