The Lions Barber Collective charity and the City of London Corporation teamed up to host a highly successful event on Monday October 7 to celebrate the emerging role of barbers in mental health and suicide prevention.
The Barber-Surgeons’ Hall event connected national leaders from the City of London, business, health, care, politics, charities and the military with the inspirational work of the Lions Barber Collective – who are working hard to educate barbers in how to spot the symptoms of mental health and depression, whilst encouraging men to talk to their barbers (and each other) about their issues.
It was organised ahead of World Mental Health Day (which this year took place on Thursday October 10), and witnessed hair cut at the Barber-Surgeons’ Hall in Monkwell Square for the first time in centuries.
Sarah Wollaston MP (Chair of the Parliamentary Health and Social Care Select Committee) opened proceedings on the day. This was then followed by a welcome on behalf of the Lord Mayor of the City of London and from the Master of the Worshipful Company of Barbers.
Lions Barber Collective founder Tom Chapman then introduced the work of his charity, which led to a celebratory ‘first cut’ in the hall in centuries, under Holbein’s painting of Henry V111 with his Barber-Surgeons and Apothecaries.
The afternoon witnessed barbers from the City of London receive training in BarberTalk by the Lions Barbers Collective. The day ended with a drinks reception and some time for the attendees to interact with the Lions to find out more about their mission to end the stigma around male suicide, which is the single biggest killer of men under the age of 45 in the UK.
Mr Chapman was delighted with how the day went, he said: “There was a huge build-up to the event and I was incredibly busy so it wasn’t until the day when I was stood there in the Barber-Surgeons Hall about to do the first hair cut ever on the 700-year-old site under Holbein’s Henry VIII portrait that I realised the importance of what we had achieved.
”We had an audience which consisted of some of the most influential people in the hair industry, the City of London itself, the NHS and even parliament. To see their faces as we told our story and gain the reaction face-to-face when we left the stage was incredible and something I will never forget.