British men more likely to discuss mental health issues with their barbers
Over half of men living in Britain feel more comfortable discussing mental health issues such as depression with their barbers than their doctors, according to a survey from men’s mental health charity The Lions Barber Collective and male grooming brand The Bluebeards Revenge.
The results provide a valuable insight ahead of World Suicide Prevention Day on September 10 that suggests the trusted relationship between doctors and their male patients is significantly less valuable than it has been in the past.
The survey, which sampled 1908 men currently living in Britain*, revealed that 53% of men are more likely to discuss private issues, such as depression and other mental health issues, with their barbers. 78% also make a conscious effort to regularly visit the same barber. In comparison, only 54% of these men find themselves consulting with the same doctor when visiting their local health centre.
The subsequent relationships that are built from these visits highlight that 71% of men have good, or in some cases a very good relationship with their barber. Meanwhile, 59% rated their patient to doctor relationship as just average or worse still, poor.
The difference between these two relationships is clearly explained by one survey respondent who asked to remain anonymous. He said: “My relationship with my barber has been established over 25 long years. He knows everything about me and has become a very reliable and trustworthy friend that I can disclose any information to. I can’t say the same for my doctor; every time I visit my local surgery, I’m greeted by another young face – fresh out of medical school – that has no time or intention to build too much of a rapport with me because he knows he will probably never see me again.”
Tom Chapman, founder of The Lions Barber Collective charity, believes that these results highlight just how important his charity’s work is. The organisation works hard to educate barbers on how to spot the symptoms of mental health and depression, whilst encouraging men to talk to their barbers (and each other) about their issues.
He said: “When statistics such as these rear their heads, it becomes very apparent that the ‘family doctor’ relationship of the past is slowly dying. Because of this, thousands of men are likely hiding from issues that they should be comfortably discussing with their doctors, such as depression, anxiety, and even PTSD.
“Our work educates barbers and their clients in how to spot the symptoms associated with depression. Then, through building a genuine relationship with the client in the chair, barbers are able to offer support on many different levels; sometimes a man just needs someone he can trust to confide in – he doesn’t want to be told what he should do, or how to ‘fix’ his problem, he just wants someone to listen.”
Suicide is the single biggest killer of men under the age of 45 in the UK and, in 2014, 74% of all suicide victims in the UK were male**.
The Lions Barber Collective are now teaming up with The Bluebeards Revenge to help raise the awareness of men’s mental health and encourage men to “man up and talk”. The Bluebeards Revenge will be rolling out an on-pack awareness campaign, as well as launching a co-branded product with all proceedings going to the charity’s great cause. The partnership is also looking for a male celebrity to help push the charity’s important message to a larger audience.
“It’s very encouraging to see that barbers all over Britain are presenting a suitable pillar for men to lean on,” David Hildrew, Managing Director of The Bluebeards Revenge added. “As an ex-serviceman, I take male depression very seriously. It’s an illness that many military men suffer with in silence. The Lions Barber Collective charity is the perfect way to break down the barriers that men tend to build themselves and together we hope to help educate barbers around the world and encourage men to man up and talk about their problems.”
*The email survey sampled 1908 men currently living in Britain between August 26 and September 1. The men were aged between 15-70.
**Statistics on male suicide rates in the UK were taken from the Samaritans website.