Following comments from the Duke of Cambridge that there is still “a long way to go” on mental health in the UK, we wanted to introduce you to Ken Hermes (pictured below), an inspirational British barber who actually met Prince William in London on Thursday after becoming an official ambassador for the Lions Barber Collective mental health charity.
William discussed men’s mental health projects with Ken during his visit to a barbershop in Paddington. The Duke said it was important that men feel they have somebody who listens to their concerns, and compared mental health issues with physical illness.
Ken, from Essex, lost his dad to suicide ten years ago and now wants to use his newly found job as a barber to help save lives and get more men to open up and talk about their personal issues. The latest figures show that suicide is still the single biggest killer of men under the age of 45 in the UK.
Ken explains the heartbreak he went through:
“Losing my dad to suicide at 15 left an empty place in my heart. If only my dad could have spoken to someone about how he felt. Maybe he would still be here? I want to help educate others to spot the signs of need, and start the conversations that change lives. Working for a large barbering group means that I can pass this education to 100+ barbers and really make a difference in our communities.”
British barber Tom Chapman set up the Lions Barber Collective mental health awareness and suicide prevention charity back in 2016.
Their aim is to turn barbershops into safe spaces for men using the opportunity of a regular haircut to start conversations about mental health. The group is having an enormous impact on men who traditional mental health services can struggle to reach.
Tom organises a professionally run training programme, which is teaching barbers to ‘recognise, talk, listen and advise’ clients and works with the Samaritans charity – signposting the services they offer to clients in need.
Previous research suggests that barbers are in a very unique position to help men in their battle with depression. A survey commissioned by the Lions Barber Collective and The Bluebeards Revenge male grooming brand revealed that more than half of the men in Britain now feel more comfortable discussing sensitive mental health issues such as depression with their barbers/hairdressers than their doctors.
The Bluebeards Revenge has also launched a new hair styling gel (image above), with 50p from each tub sold going to The Lions Barber Collective; helping the charity to raise awareness and prevent male suicides all over the world. The inside of the product cartons also carries branded messaging from the charity, signposting men to the Samaritans charity to seek additional support.
Follow Ken Hermes:
Instagram – @ken.hermes
For more information on The Lions Barber Collective:
Instagram – @thelionsbarbers
Facebook – @TheLionsBarberCollective
Twitter – @TheLionsBarbers
For more information on Bluebeards Revenge:
Instagram – @thebluebeards
Facebook – @thebluebeards
Twitter – @thebluebeards