As the nation marks Men’s Health Awareness Week between 15 and 21 June, Oxfordshire FA is proud to announce that it is supporting The Lions Barber Collective.
Commissioned by Oxfordshire County Council, The Lions Barber Collective is an acclaimed worldwide approach to raising awareness of mental wellbeing and suicide prevention for men, by encouraging barbers to create a safe place to open up and offload.
In addition to Oxfordshire FA, the project is being supported by Oxfordshire Mental Health Prevention Concordat Partnership, Oxford United in the Community, Oxfordshire Suicide Prevention Multi-Agency, Oxfordshire Mental Health Partnership, Oxfordshire MIND, Oxford Mental Health Network, Active Oxfordshire and Achieve Oxfordshire.
Whilst barbers themselves are unfortunately not open for business at this time, the demands that could be put on them for emotional support, when their doors do open, could be significant.
As the work was commissioned prior to the COVID-19 lockdown, a lot of the work that the project outlines has yet to commence; however, when it does, it is something that Oxfordshire FA will be helping to promote to our grassroots football community.
With 15 June marking the start of Men’s Health Awareness Week, it seemed like the perfect time to initially inform the county about what the project is all about.
The Lions Barber Collective will be deliver a series of barber shop training across Oxfordshire over the next year, enabling barbers and hairdressers the ability to upskill and recognise, ask, listen and help their clients with their mental wellbeing.
In addition, pop-up mobile salons will be opening to engage with men regarding mental health in a non-clinical setting.
However, with the project launching in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, the theme of this year’s Lions Barber Collective project is ‘Take Action on COVID-19’ – and aims to encourage men to get the best out of lockdown and the ‘new normal’.
There’s no doubt that adapting to a ‘new normal’ is taking its toll and putting pressure on people’s mental and emotional state. When barber shops re-open, the project will work to ensure that barbers are prepared to tackle subjects and identify any mental health or wellbeing issues. In addition, the project will provide barbers and hairdressers with the opportunity to learn new skills in their downtime.
Already, there are a number of resources available to help start the conversation and raise awareness with men and the local barber business:
THE £1.7M HAIRCUT FILM
Ian Mason, Chief Executive Officer at Oxfordshire FA, said: “We’re incredibly proud to support The Lions Barber Collective project and will be working to ensure that males involved in our grassroots football community are made aware of the help and support that is on offer to them. Suicide remains the most common cause of death for men aged between 20 and 49 in the United Kingdom. The work that The Lions Barber Collective’s project is doing is invaluable in addressing the topic of mental health and ensuring the men have an outlet to communicate how they’re feeling, in addition to the right support on offer to them when they choose to open up.”
For more information on the Lion Barber Collective, please visit www.thelionsbarbercollective.com