The rise of men communicating about
in a barbershop setting
For years, there has been a stigma associated with men talking about their feelings. Men have historically avoided disclosing their emotions because they were taught that it was unmanly or weak.
However, times are changing.
More men than ever before open up about their struggles, thanks to the barbershop setting. In this article, we’ll dive deeper into how the barbershop helps combat mental health issues among men.
Men and Mental Health
There is stigma surrounding how men deal with mental health issues. Over the years, many men have been told “men don’t cry.” This statement is untrue and harmful. Men feel sadness and other types emotions and should not be ashamed to talk about them. Mental health is of prime importance in the modern world and countless issues affect both genders; however, women tend to disclose more often.
As a result, the push back against men speaking openly about mental health can be even greater. There is still a belief amongst some people that admitting to having a problem, equates to weakness. This is why so many men choose to keep their problems hidden from friends and family members.
Keeping these secrets causes men to become isolated. As a result, men can be likely to suffer without anyone ever knowing. Did you know that three times as many men die by suicide (in 1st world countries) then women. Male suicide is often recognised as a serious silent epidemic of our time.
This is where the modern barbershop comes in. By creating a safe space for men to open up about their struggles with mental illness, men will often feel more comfortable sharing their thoughts and feelings.
The Routine of Going to a Barbershop
Going to the barbershop to get a haircut is part of a self-care routine that most men follow on a regular basis. When going to a barbershop, men typically sit down in a quiet room and may listen to music while the barber cuts their hair. The barber might initially ask questions about what kind of style they want or if they need any product added to their hair.
But as the customer and barber begin to feel more comfortable with each other, men often open up about anything that is bothering them. Once they sit down in the chair and begin chatting with the barber, they realize they’re not alone. They’ve found camaraderie and can feel listened to without judgment. It’s a safe space where they can open up about whatever they want.
Many barbershops offer a “no-judgment zone” where men can discuss what is on their mind without fear of being judged. As a result, the barbershop becomes an ideal venue for men to express themselves not only with style, but through conversation.
How Does the Barbershop Setting Impact Men’s Mental Health?
By providing a safe space for men, the barbershop setting has aided the movement towards a more positive view on men discussing mental health. This is because men are able to release stress by talking about what is bothering them.
There’s no doubt that talking to others can help gain perspective. There will be others who deal with similar challenges. In most cases, when a man shares their feelings with a trusted friend or barber, they know that they won’t be judged for having a bad day. Instead, they’ll be encouraged to speak about their troubles. This can help during times of struggle.
Sense of Belonging
It’s also important to note that the barbershop setting creates a sense of belonging. Being part of a group of men who may have similar experiences such as relationship problems, financial concerns, or even holiday anxiety, can help normalise and encourage open conversation. Through the barbershop setting, men are able to support one another and encourage each other to keep moving forward.
Close Bonds and Deeper Relationships
By listening to one another, men are able to develop new friendships which can further help them cope with their mental health issues. For example, men who attend the same barbershop can form a close bond over time. These social connections can lead to deeper relationships with other men and as a result, many men report that they feel less lonely after attending the barbershop regularly.
The Bottom Line
Men often feel isolated when experiencing mental health issues. By finding a supportive male peer group, it becomes easier for men to talk about their feelings and seek treatment. Aside from being part of a man’s grooming essentials, the barbershop setting offers a unique opportunity for men to connect with other men. It’s a safe place where men can openly talk about their emotions and receive encouragement from others.
To learn more on this important topic, and access advice and join this discussion with barbers worldwide, please visit The Lions Barber Collective, who proudly make it their mission to prevent male suicide
Katie Pierce is a teacher-slash-writer who loves telling stories to an audience, whether it’s bored adults in front of a computer screen or a bunch of hyperactive 4-year-olds. Writing keeps her sane (most of the time) and allows her to enjoy some quiet time in the evening before she walks into a room of screaming kids (all of whom she loves dearly) the next morning.
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