Man getting his hair cut by his Barber

The barbering industry is a space whereby millions of conversations happen every day. Just like hairdressers and beauticians, barbers are in a privileged position to spend considerable time one-on-one with others and help voices to be heard.


The barber’s chair should always be an open and safe space for clients struggling with their mental health.

Mental health within our industry matters to us, and we have previously taken a deep dive into mental health and wellbeing in the salon industry. This article focuses on the reasons why health and well-being are essential in the workplace and how to make your salon a better place to work. It goes without saying that the same standpoint applies to your clients. Your salon should be a place where wellbeing is a top priority – After all, clients visit you to have some much-needed ‘me time’.

One recent mental health initiative that has caught our eye is how the sportswear brand Gymshark has leveraged the power of the barbering industry to open up a meaningful conversation around men’s mental health in particular – the statistics around male suicide are frighteningly high.


“According to CALM’s data, 125 people a week die by suicide, and 75% of all UK suicides are male.” 

Stats by show:

  • Three times as many men as women die by suicide
  • Men aged 40 to 49 have the highest suicide rates in the UK
  • Men report lower levels of life satisfaction than women, according to the Government’s national well-being survey
  • Men are less likely to access psychological therapies than women: only 36% of referrals to NHS talking therapies are for men

How Gymshark has opened up a mental health conversation that needs to be heard

Gymshark has diligently shone a spotlight on the conversation around men’s mental health by opening a pop-up barbershop in London aptly named ‘Deload’, the name highlighting that clients shouldn’t have to carry a mental load in their heads. Deload is a safe and non-judgemental space for men to open up to barbers that are trained in mental health by the mental health incentive, 12th Man

Take a look inside the Deload barbershop…


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A post shared by Gymshark (@gymshark)

How the barbering industry can further pave the way for more mental health conversations

There are many ways that the barbering industry can help make space for more mental health conversations and positively contribute to the movement. As a salon professional, you already have some handy tools in your toolbelt to work with, such as a place for open conversation and physical touch. If Gymshark’s mental health incentive has inspired you, there are plenty of ways that you can also contribute to the men’s mental health conversation. The first port of call is to make your barbershop and/or service offering an entirely inclusive space. 

1. Create a judgement-free, safe and held space

By promoting a judgement-free barbershop culture that welcomes people from all walks of life, you are automatically opening your door to more people who can feel your environment and presence is somewhere they can be themselves. Some clients may look forward to speaking with you in the barbershop, others may prefer to sit quietly throughout their appointment. It’s all about adapting to your clients and how they prefer their appointment to flow. 

Related: How to create a more inclusive salon business

2. Mental health training courses for you and your staff

If you are a barbershop owner, your staff may be interested in learning more about mental health to support their clients better. Did you know that in September 2015, barber Tom Chapman founded The Lions Barber Collective, which started as a group of international barbers raising awareness for suicide prevention? BarberTalk by The Lions Barber Collective offers training to help barbers know how to spot people suffering with their mental health.

Having worked with psychiatrists and mental health professionals, the BarberTalk team have created information in online video format and half-day facilitation that combines mental health training with barbering demos.

Alternatively, you could see if mental health training incentives are available to enrol on in your area. Search for ‘mental health and wellbeing courses for barbers in {your area}’. There may also be funding available for this if you contact your local authority. Did you know that according to NHS England, in 2020, training was funded for barbers to spot warning signs of mental health problems?


“A dedicated support package has been provided to local NHS, public health teams and voluntary organisations across England to strengthen suicide prevention plans and provide practical and emotional support to friends and family who have lost a loved one to suicide.” – NHS England


3. Show clients that your services are geared up to their needs

Barbershops can be busy places, sometimes accompanied by bright lights and loud music. This sensory overload may trigger or even deter people with particular mental health conditions such as anxiety or depression. You can help attract clients who require extra consideration by offering bespoke appointments and treatments. One idea is to offer silent appointments for clients with social anxieties or offer up quieter, off-peak appointments for clients with sensory needs. By going the extra mile to show you care, clients will really appreciate the effort you are putting in and hopefully spread the word to their friends, family and people who would benefit.

We are proud to see the salon industry making space for mental health matters.

The subject of mental health is a vast topic that deserves significant time and space dedicated to it. The more voices sharing stories, creating meaningful incentives and putting matters of mental health in the spotlight, the more equipped we will be as a society to work on ourselves and support others with their mental health.

If you’ve found this article interesting, we highly recommend learning more about The Lions Barber Collective, Campaign Against Living Miserably (CALM) and the Men’s Mental Health Forum

24-hour mental health support via Samaritans

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