Black barbers in London start new mental health initiative

black barber mental

The barbers have been trained in necessary skills to help Black men with mental health issues

According to Positive News, Black men in England have a higher risk of mental health issues. This is because of inequality in the country. And that is why five barbers in London have been trained to help Black men with their mental health problems. They will do so by listening, talking and picking up on certain warning signs when it comes to mental health. 


According to the National Association of Barbers, a Black barber shop is a big part of the Black community. And it is a big part of Black culture. Islington barber Richard Johnson told Positive News: “As a kid, it’s just a place to get your hair cut, but by your late teens it’s more of a social thing. A mixed-generation environment where black men can talk to each other.” He said that for Black men, the barber shops are like pubs and clubs. And that is why they are the perfect place for mental health care for Black men.


According to Johnson, the mental health problems that Black men face aren’t necessarily caused by an inability to talk about feelings. They’re the result of the ongoing inequalities in the country. He said: “I don’t think black people are afraid of opening up, we’re very vocal about our feelings. I see people on their good days and also on their bad days. That’s the nature of the barber’s chair. But I do think there’s a fear of being judged, of being given medication that might not be right for you, or even of being sectioned.”

And the new initiative is aiming to change that.


The five barbers received training to learn how to listen to customers and talk to them. They are also trained to be receptive to certain warning signs. And to provide Black men with directions to services that could help them with their issues. “I’m not just cutting hair – it’s a counselling session. My customers know what’s happening, they know what they’re coming for.” Johnson told Positive News.

The five barbers might not just upgrade the looks of their customers, they also might end up saving their lives.

Read more: U.S. veterans able to receive free emergency mental health care

Source: Positive News, National Barbers | Image: Unsplash, Obi