The Lions Barber Collective teamed up with the City of London Corporation to bring a hugely successful event to the Barber-Surgeon’s Hall on Monday, October 7 in celebration of the emerging role barbers play in mental health and suicide prevention.
The event connected national leaders from the City of London, business, health, care, politics charities and the military under the banner of the Lions’ inspirational work. The LBC work tirelessly to educate barbers on how to spot the symptoms of poor mental health and depression, all while encouraging men to talk openly with their barbers—and each other—about their issues.
Organised ahead of World Mental Health Day (Thursday, October 10), the event saw barbers cutting hair at the Barber-Surgeons Hall in Monkwell Square for the first time in generations.
The chair of the Parliamentary Health and Social Care Select Committee, Sarah Wollaston MP opened the proceedings, followed by a welcome on behalf of the Lord Mayor of the City of London and the Master of the Worshipful Company of Barbers.
Charity founder, Tom Chapman then introduced the work of the Lions Barber Collective, which led to a celebratory ‘first cut’ in the hallowed venue, under Holbein’s painting of Henry VIII with his Barber-Surgeons and Apothecaries.
In the afternoon, barbers from the City of London received BarberTalk training by the Lions Barber Collective. BarberTalks aim to arm barbers with the tools they need to spot the signs of someone who needs support.
The day concluded with a drinks reception and time for attendees to interact with the Lions and 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.
Delighted with how the day went, Mr Chapman 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.
“We managed to reach some people that I never thought we could. I just hope that this day will lead to some great partnerships and hopefully the long–term sustainability of the Lions Barber Collective so we can leave a legacy of mental wellbeing behind us well into the future. The day itself made history on so many levels. I’m so proud to have been part of it; I never thought I’d get the Lions Barber Collective to this point. It is definitely the start of a new chapter.”
Marianne Fredricks, chairman of the City of London Corporation’s Health and Wellbeing board, said, “Tragically, suicide is the single biggest killer of men under the age of 45 in the country. This initiative is a fantastic approach, bringing the conversation about male suicide to the forefront and helping men open up about their mental health in a safe space.”
To find out more about the Lions and the work they do click here