New Lions Barber Collective Ambassadors Have Been Named
The Lions Barber Collective, an international collection of top barbers which have come together to help raise awareness for the prevention of suicide, have added new ambassadors.
Meet the new ambassadors and hear what the charity means to them…
“The Lions Barber Collective speaks absolute volumes to me, not from just a personal view but as a whole seeing how much we can help people suffering in silence. Having been in a position where I couldn’t seek refuge of my own thoughts and let myself get into a very dangerous way of thinking I understand the importance of anonymous help, and the power of conversation and simply being able to identify these issues through body language and how someone expresses them self. Sometimes the smallest things can eat away someone’s happiness and will to a point there feels like there’s nothing left, but just a simple conversation and warm heart can flip these feelings on there head. To be able to be in a position where I can identify and help my patrons suffering or be an anonymous reach out is an unbelievable honour and privilege. They say not all heroes wear capes, sometimes they wear hair gowns and don’t know their full potential, we’re just the right push they need.”
“There are so many reasons why I wanted to become a member of this great initiative. The Lions Barber Collective is something that I feel very close to for a number of reasons. Firstly I have suffered from severe anxiety issues in the past and learning to manage these issues is a huge thing for me. I have also been affected directly by losing friends to suicide, not only guys I have grown up with but also clients that I consider my friends have also taken their own life. I have had a member of staff lose a brother, and a past staff member attempted suicide and was lucky to survive. There is such a huge problem in our city with depression, anxiety issues and addiction. I have listened to so many guys in the past tell me things that they simply won’t tell their social circles out of fear, I am now learning to identify signs in body language, shifts in moods, personalities and how to communicate and actually listen, We are in such a amazing position in our job and I have started to build networks with local men’s support groups as well as going through some mental health first aid training to ensure we are delivering the best advice and support possible. As a human being it’s our duty to care for those around us, if I can help one person make a positive change in their life or even get them to start steering in the right direction, then its all worth it.”
“I felt it was time for us as a community to come together and try help after hearing more and more of my clients struggling with own mental health and even more so a few who have committed suicide. I really feel like our shop and myself really do put our clients at ease, and would hope I could help create a safe place for men to open up. I absolutely adore what the Lions Collective represents and know I could help raise awareness in the North West. One of my main passions is male grooming. The reason I brought it to Ruger was to allow men to de-stress and switch off from everything around them. I really feel this helps their health and well being. If I could learn more on how to acknowledge and support those who are suffering with The Lions Team I’d be a lot happier playing a part of helping others.”
“As barbers, we are in a privileged position as we dip in and out of people’s lives and they share their trust in us not only in our ability to cut their hair but also in the way we relate to them, how well we listen and how we help them to feel at ease. Most men do not share their feelings very easily and mental health issues unfortunately carry the stigma of making you ‘weak’. The barber chair can be one of the few places that men potentially feel at ease and in a safe environment. The Lions Barber Collective has done so much to raise awareness of suicide in young men and train barbers to recognise potential signs of depression. The more we can spread the word, the great chance we have to save lives. I am very proud to be a part of the team.”
“I work in the heart of Kings Cross and the average age group is men under 45. For the clients to know they can talk to me in a non-judgemental way about their mental health is a great feeling for me. In my life time I’ve lost 4/5 friends and acquaintances to suicide, which is too many. I have a loved one who suffers with anxiety. I have been lucky to spend a week with six lions on a barber trip that taught me how to behave and deal with anxiety. I am very fortunate to be in a job that allows me to help someone who is feeling depressed or suicidal. Even just being able to help one person is an amazing feeling. Many of my clients have supported me over the years and I’m grateful for the opportunity to be able to give something back and support them, giving them a safe environment to talk and the knowledge that I’ll be there to listen to them.”
“I have people in my network that suffer with mental health issues and it’s something that needs to be addressed in a wider context. I strongly believe through the experience of being a barber for 26 years and having conversations within the environment that would never really happen anywhere else. The barbershop is the one place where customers get to openly speak their minds, with a trust that is second to none with barbers knowing more than wives/children/parents/partners etc.… I believe with this barbers adopted form of a therapist; we all need help in identifying, providing guidance and dealing with such issues for clients as well as barbers!”
“Being the Welsh ambassador for the Lions Barbers Collective is a very important responsibility for me and I am absolutely passionate about making a difference in my area. I am fortunate to be in an industry where I can use my skills and facilities to help raise awareness of mental health and the male suicide epidemic that we are currently facing in the UK. I have experienced mental health issues first hand with my father and brother both being diagnosed with depression and anxiety and needing medication. I have also had to deal with mental health on the flip side of the chart with my mother being diagnosed with alzheimers at the young age of 53. It’s very important to me to make a difference in this area after seeing my family suffer with it and the strain of this has caused me to get anxious and stressed but I have used my experience of helping others to deal with my own battles. Since January 3 people that I know in the Ammanford area alone have taken their lives due to their mental health battle and its time to use my position in my community to help these people and raise awareness to this illness.”
“The Lions Barber Collective is a charity that I wish had existed when I was in my late teens. For years I have coped unsuccessfully with my mental health. I always felt I had no one to turn to. There are thousands of men in the UK and Ireland that are familiar with my situation and have spent years trying to find a safe space to talk about their own mental health issues. The Lions Barber Collective trains barbers to spot the signs and encourages open and honest conversation between the client and his barber so we can hopefully help and signpost our clients to the correct places. This could be to talk or even for intervention. There isn’t an organisation with as wide a reach as The Lions and we aim to help this fantastic charity help as many people as possible.”
“I’ve been a friend of Tom Chapman for a number of years now. As well as admiring him as an incredible barber, what I respect and love so much about Tom is how he is using his craft to help those who are struggling through personal problems. As barbers we are in a unique position to be able to interact with people in a non threatening and non judgemental environment. In this relaxed space people often feel at ease to discuss issues that they might not be able to express to those closest to them. I’m deeply honoured at being asked to be an ambassador for the Lions Collective. Providing support and training to fellow barbers in recognising suicidal thoughts and dispair within clients is possibly, for me, the most important aspect to the barbering vocation. I fully believe that this powerful initiative will create awareness and empathy within our profession and might even save lives.”
Ky Wilson has also been named as an ambassador.