More than half of British men feel more comfortable talking about mental health issues with their barbers than their doctors, according to a new survey.
The survey, conducted by men’s mental health charity The Lions Barber Collective leading up to World Suicide Prevention Day, sampled over 1,900 men aged between 15 and 70 who are currently living in the U.K.
It found that 53 per cent of men are more likely to discuss private issues, such as depression, with their barbers, and 78 per cent make a conscious effort to regularly visit the same hairstylist.
In comparison, only 54 per cent of these men find themselves consulting with the same doctor when visiting their local health centre.
The subsequent relationships that are built from these visits highlight that 71 per cent of men have good, or in some cases, a very good relationship with their barber. Meanwhile, 59 per cent rated their patient to doctor relationship as just average or worse still, poor.
Tom Chapman, founder of The Lions Barber Collective charity, believes the results highlight how important it is for barbers to be educated on the symptoms of mental health and depression.
“When statistics such as these rear their heads, it becomes very apparent that the ‘family doctor’ relationship of the past is slowly dying. Because of this, thousands of men are likely hiding from issues that they should be comfortably discussing with their doctors, such as depression, anxiety, and even PTSD,” he said.
“Our work educates barbers and their clients in how to spot the symptoms associated with depression. Then, through building a genuine relationship with the client in the chair, barbers are able to offer support on many different levels; sometimes a man just needs someone he can trust to confide in – he doesn’t want to be told what he should do, or how to ‘fix’ his problem, he just wants someone to listen.”
Suicide is the leading cause of death among young people aged 20-34 years in the U.K. and it is considerably higher in men, with nearly four times as many men dying as a result of suicide compared to women, according to the Mental Health Foundation. Help can be reached at Samaritans and Childline, which both offer free listening services.
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