Buxton barber joins national Lions network offering mental health support to struggling customers
As customers return from a hard winter in lockdown, one Buxton barber is offering an extra therapeutic service after signing up for an nationwide mental health initiative.
Ben Gillooly, 33, who runs KVLT Hair on Fairfield Road, is now part of the Lions Barber Collective, a network which seeks to support men’s mental health.
Its project, Our Door Is Open, encourages men to talk with barbers who have undergone special training to listen without judgement, spot signs that someone may be at serious risk, and signpost them to appropriate support services.
Ben said: “The barbershop is quite a chatty place, and neutral territory to just talk about football or something deeper. It can be easier to open up with someone you’re not closely linked to.
“The more you speak to people, the more you realise how many have been affected by mental health issues or even the suicide of someone close. The statistics are quite scary.”
He added: “Thankfully there’s been nothing too close to home for me, but you feel for anyone in that situation and I hate to think of them going through it alone.”
The Lions Barber Collective was launched in 2015 by Torquay barber Tom Chapman following the death of a close friend.
Ben said: “I met Tom at a trade show and just thought it was something I could do. I like to get to know my customers and have a good chat with everyone who comes in.
“Tom runs online training on how to pick up when someone’s feeling low, how to talk without making them shut down. I won’t bring it up with anyone, but if someone wants to talk, they know where I am.”
He added: “It’s been noticeable with people coming back in the last couple of weeks just how many are fed up and struggling.
“Even people who have worked through lockdown, there’s been nothing to break it up and let them chill out. So many have said how nice it is to be out and about. Hopefully things will get a lot better now.”
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