As part of our ongoing #MoreThanABarber campaign to raise more awareness and support around men’s mental health and suicide, and assisting CALM with their incredible work in keeping men alive, several of our barbers have recently completed the mental health awareness and skills course, The Workplace MHFA as part of their mental health training.The course consists of a mix of group activities, presentations and discussions, all built around a Mental Health First Aid action plan. The intention is for every participant to come away with a better understanding of common mental health issues, knowledge and confidence to advocate for mental health awareness, the ability to spot signs of mental ill health and skills to support positive wellbeing. Upon completion, you leave qualified as an MHFA Champion and we are beyond proud to acknowledge our barbers for their desire to participate and achieve this. Our barbers are incredibly passionate about the wellbeing of their clients and this course is designed to help them manage wellbeing proactively and minimise the impact of mental ill health on work and life. Our barbers have learned to spot the symptoms of mental health issues, offer initial help and guide a person towards support - potentially stopping a crisis from happening. Below, our MHFA Champions share some of their learnings and the impact completing the course has already had on themselves and others. You can also find out more about mental health courses for yourself or organisation HERE.
Dan Glass, Senior Barber - Murdock Covent GardenWhat inspired you to want to complete the course? Two reasons. Firstly, my family have a history of mental health issues with both my uncle and brother suffering badly from mental illness. It’s an issue close to my heart and one I strive to understand better. Secondly, working as a barber also inspired me to do the course. No one has a perfect life and you hear a lot of stories and experiences (both good and bad) from clients as well those from friends and family. In this job you have a heightened awareness of the of the trials and tribulations of life. What did you hope to get out of it? Sticking to the principle of being “More than a barber”, my goal was to better understand the causes and symptoms of mental health issues so that I am better equipped to support my clients, colleagues, friends and family through their personal struggles. What lessons/inspiration will you take from it going forward? There was a great wealth of information and techniques for me to take away but, for me, the key learnings involved awareness and communication. I like to think I’m a pretty good listener but the training highlighted just how important it is to be aware of the early signs someone may be struggling. And if they are, how vital open and honest verbal and non-verbal communication is - to listen without attempting to cure, to provide support and guidance without judgement and preconceptions. Did you take away anything unexpected from the experience? Actually I did! It caught me slightly off guard how much of the advice and support mechanisms we were taught would impact my own mental health. I’ve since made some key changes to my own attitudes and actions and have already started to reap the rewards!
Joe Pomper, Head Barber - Murdock Covent GardenWhat inspired you to want to do it?
I have struggled quietly with mental health issues myself, as have some of my family. I felt it was a great reason to learn more about it and try to understand why we feel certain things and how we can realise signs in others who may be suffering.
What did you hope to get out of it?
An understanding of what mental health is, how it affects everyone, and how we can deal with it.
What lessons/inspiration will you take from it going forward?
To encourage anyone struggling with mental health to talk to someone about it, open up, and that way you can start making progress. To always be approachable to anyone, a quick chat may be all somebody needs to feel better.
Did you take away anything unexpected from the experience?
I learned that in the workplace, most absences are due to bad mental health, but disguised as a cold or a stomach bug, because employees are too frightened to be honest and may then be seen as weak. I also got a real urge of wanting to contact friends and family I thought about during the session to make sure they are okay.