The Islington council, England in collaboration with the National Health Service (NHS) has launched a program seeking to equip barbers with the skills needed to spot mental distress in black clients.

Picture: Artwork of people requesting for mental help


Barber shops form the cornerstone in most black communities and it is for this reason that Islington council launched the $2 million initiative targeted at giving barbers the skills to recognise the signs that someone may be struggling with their mental health and how to help clients get the support they need. 


According to Charity Mind, black men are four times more likely to suffer and be hospitalised for poor mental health than white men. They are also less likely to seek help from others before their mental life breaks down. Further research from the Centre for Mental Health, showed that young black men in the UK are not just more likely to suffer from mental health problems but also lack mentors, role models and tailored support needed to thrive.


Mitch, who is a barber in an interview with BBC, expressed how this program has equipped him with the skills to listen to his customers more and identify help and possibly refer those experiencing mental distress.


“We’ve been trained to listen carefully and a little bit more. Allow a safe space for people to be able to share and where need be refer people to the right services so they can assist them a bit further. The course has allowed me to take things a little bit more differently and listen with a different kind of ear.”

Picture: Black Barbers (Mental Health Ambassador, Mitch on the left)


Kwaku, who is one of the many young men to have been helped by trained barbers, recounted how he was able to deal with depression by talking to others about his issues. He opened up on how living in Britain as a young black man placed significant pressure on him to provide for his family and do better in society eventually driving him depressed. He praised the Young Black Men & Mental Health Initiative and added that this will help improve the mental well-being of others.


There is a difference between praying for others to receive help and being the help others need. Some Christians are stuck on praying for others without stepping out to actively help them. GOD works through man, and in speaking on the Gospel Drive Online, Prophet Gilbert Ossei, stressed how Christians can be the answer to the prayers of someone. Until believers move from just praying for the LORD to help others to being the answers to the needs of those they are praying for, they can never make an impact on the world.


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