Norwich Hairdressers are being trained to help tackle mental health issues

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As we are in the Mental Health Awareness Week 2017, it is great to see there are new and revolutionary ways being investigated to try and tackle the issue of mental health and it was great to read about the group of Barbers in Norwich who have agreed to take part in this project.

*The barbers’ chair is sometimes a place where men will open up about their feelings or problems during a chat while having their hair cut.

And now a group of barbers in the city are being trained to help spot the signs of mental health problems among customers and how and where to point them if they need help.

It is part of an innovative project, 12th Man, being delivered by The Outsiders, a group which works creatively with organisations to come up with ideas that address social problems.

Nick Little and Oz Osborne, directors of the group, said they wanted to take the positive values of the 12th man, a label often given to football crowds which lifts the players, and pass that onto those in a position to help others and help men talk more openly about mental health.

Steve Bunn, joint owner of Croppers hairdressers in St Gregory’s Alley, is one of a number of hairdressers to have been given mental health first aid training as part of the project and insisted it was a “fantastic” idea.

He said: “A lot of us have been in the trade a long, long time and are in a lucky position that a lot of our clients are friends who might sometimes divulge to us things that they might not to friends or family because we’re a bit separate.

“People have come in and we maybe have been a little bit concerned about them and what Oz and Nick are doing is giving us the ability to recognise that a bit more and give them the help they might need.”

Mr Bunn said he was “very excited” to be part of the idea in its infancy and hoped many more hairdressers and barbers would get involved.

The scheme comes after it emerged hairdressers in Norwich were being trained to spot the signs of domestic abuse as part of a drive led by Rachel Buck, who owns Beau Hair and Beauty in Queens Road, who became struck with the idea after a law was passed in Illinois, USA, last year.

Legislators aimed to take advantage of the close relationship between hairdressers and clients, and it means they undertake training to pick up on signs of domestic abuse, and offer support.

*Original article by Peter Walsh can be found:

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