Marking the end of Mental Health Month 2016, UK barber Tom Chapman explains how he has created an incredible movement to help young men who find it difficult to cope with life – and to let them know they’re not alone.
Myprotein are honoured to have Tom share his incredible story of how he has shone the light on an often taboo subject – one that takes 1,600 lives each year, three quarters of which are men under the age of 35.
Tom shares how he began his journey of explaining the importance of opening up and how exercise and nutrition can be beneficial for overall wellbeing.
An Exclusive Interview With Tom Chapman
The Lions Barber Collective
What Is The Lions Barber Collective?
“The Lions Barber Collective is a international group of barbers who believe in raising awareness for suicide prevention and men’s mental health – as well as looking out for their clientele.
There is a strong level of trust between clients and their barber so we should take advantage of this to help them and society by destroying the taboos around mental health, suicide and perception that men sharing their problems is a weakness.”
How Did The Lions Barber Collective Begin?
“It all stemmed from a Facebook Barber Group where I put the idea forward of a collaboration of images for a look book and donate any money made to charity! The idea took off and when we discussed charities, Paul Mac mentioned suicide. I had lost a friend to suicide a year previous and I could not name a single organisation.
I knew this was the direction to go down – and, as I looked more into it, I discovered suicide is the biggest killer in young people and 80% of them were men. I knew on the day of my friends funeral that there must be something we could do. Not one person there knew he was going to do what he done. This is a huge part of my motivation.”
“We are still working on the look book which is basically finished and ready to go to print this week. It has been a long process and a lot bigger project than expected. However, because of this, we have achieved an awful lot more. Developing our BarberTalk bespoke suicide intervention training has been a fantastic high point as we hope to roll this out in mass next year to really help remove the taboo and train and educate people to have the confidence to recognise, talk, listen, safe guard and signpost people in the right direction.
We also have a collaboration with Fit For Vikings Beard Care range to create our own scent entitled “LION” with a full range of Oil, Balm, Soap and Moustache Wax with a mental health statistic provided by Public Health UK inside each balm package! It smells fantastic and is out there educating people at the same time!”
How Important Is Exercise and Nutrition
In Relation To Mental Health?
“Exercise and nutrition is so closely linked to our mental state. Not only do we feel more comfortable in ourselves when we “look good” but good nutrition and regular exercise provides our brains with a healthy chemical balance and feel good factor.
We are also working with local award winning gym Winners 2000 and personal trainer Dean Turner WBFF pro on the possibility of group training for people at risk to help set achievable goals and plans which will not only help people feel better but also create hope and vision of a positive future!”
“We are working tremendously hard on many ideas and alongside some amazing organisations. We plan to develop a “Lions Den” idea which would be a 24-hour safeguard and support house with a help line. Also currently working on some training videos which people will be able to take and learn from at anytime any where.
Along with these ideas, our information leaflets, hair shows, more photoshoots, a membership process and trips to the USA later this year to help promote the cause and break the taboo we have been very busy!”
Your Ultimate Mission?
“Our mission at The Lions Barber Collective is not only to educate barbers in suicide intervention with our bespoke BarberTalk Training, but to make our great industry – even greater – and to then become world leaders in mental health support for our clients.
We also want to lower the numbers in suicide and believe that through our BarberTalk training and raising awareness through The Lions Barber Collective we will be able to achieve this and make a difference.”
Thank you to Tom for sharing his incredible story.
Visit The Lions Barber Collective for more information and to get involved in his incredible movement.
Interviewed By Laura Bowden