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Barbering students get training in how to cut suicide risk as well as hair

Barbering students at Cardiff and Vale College have been given mental health training in order to help prevent suicide within their client base.

Lions Barber Collective founder Tom Chapman visited the College’s urbasba salon to show the learners how they can spot and advise male clients who are struggling with their mental health. The BarberTalk initiative aims to enable barbers to recognise the signs, ask about wellbeing, listen and help to act as a bridge between the communities they serve and the resources that are available in a safe and non-judgemental space.

Lions Barber Collective Tom Chapman said: “It’s been incredible teaming up with Public Health Wales and Cardiff and Vale College to deliver our BarberTalk training, enabling Barbering students to recognise the signs of mental ill health, ask the correct questions, listen with empathy and without judgement and finally help give them the knowledge of the resources so they can help their clients find the help they need.

“All the students were engaged and had a great understanding already, showing empathy and tact. Now they have completed BarberTalk they will be prepared for a moment of crisis and be able to provide a safe environment for those in their chairs, enabling the Lions Barber Collective to reach even more people.”

Cardiff and Vale College Deputy Principal Sharon James said: “It was pleasure to welcome the Lions Barber Collective and Tom Chapman to the College. The work done by Tom and his colleagues is hugely important – many men who are suffering from mental ill health often feel like they have no-one to turn to, but having a barber who can spot the signs and offer advice and support could make all the difference.

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“Our Barbering students will be going out into the community and this training will help them to make a valuable contribution to the wellbeing of that community.”

The event was hosted by Cardiff and Vale College, working in partnership with sponsors Public Health Wales and the Cardiff and Vale University Health Board. Dr Annie Procter, Clinical Board Director for Mental Health Services at Cardiff and Vale UHB said:

“I’m acutely aware of the impact that losing a loved one to suicide on people both as a doctor, a mother, a friend and a partner. We know that many people who are desperate enough to take their own lives never come anywhere near mental health services to seek help and support, so this partnership is absolutely brilliant.”

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