In a c world where mental health support is becoming more accessible than ever, who is now the said specialist?
Today mental health services are becoming more accessible to those who need them most, the stigma is being broken and society is becoming aware of the need and demand - so why are these services still not being utilised?
Who is the one person we reach out to in a time of crisis, the one we feel least judged by? The one who we have no other connection to apart from them being our beautician, hairdresser, or barber. The use of mental health services is becoming more and more apparent within society but is the demand being met? Recent research by the NHS suggests that ….
"During the pandemic, Mental Health Network members told us that they had seen a significant increase in demand for mental health support alongside increased severity of cases".
Everyone in the UK is aware that the NHS is becoming overstretched so the demand for support may not be accessible to everyone but is the stigma still not fully broken? During lockdown many members of our society suffered from mental health problems and the little things in life from visiting our hairdressers and barbers were taken away from us. Gradually the pandemic isolated many of us with isolation becomes no one to talk to, did the pandemic create a break in the stigma of mental health and did it make people more aware through the isolation suffered?
Further Research based on a transcript of Health and Social Care Secretary Sajid Javid spoke at the Global Mental Health Summit 2021 suggests:
“The strains of the pandemic have meant that the issue of mental health has been in the public consciousness like never before. And we should be encouraged that more people, from all walks of life, are now talking more openly about their mental health and wellbeing.
But we know that, for every person who comes forward, there are more who’re suffering in silence. So, we must keep encouraging people to get help if they need it and keep working to eliminate the stigma that’s far too often attached to mental health so that people know it’s OK not to be OK.”
The hair and beauty industry is an industry which supports their customers through making them feel good and offers mental health wellbeing support without releasing. A new haircut can make anyone feel like a new person! So, is the beauty ‘therapist’ a therapist which provides that service of support in a time when mental health is on the rise and services are becoming overstretched? Are we feeling less judged whilst having a fresh trim to openly speak about our personal suffering? Is the stigma with support really broken or is the support not there due to waiting lists. Is our lifeline the beauty ‘therapist’ ….
#BarberTalk is an organisation founded by Tom a regular barber who lost a close friend to suicide he realised the support for mental health was missing and the gap was within the beauty industry. The #Barbertalk mission aim is to support hair and beauty industry workers with the knowledge of how to spot and support mental health support through their award-winning training. The training focuses on four pillars being, 1. Recognise, 2. Ask, 3. Listen, 4. Help to Help.
“The idea is not to make barbers into counsellors or psychiatrists but with the aid of our four pillars of Barber Talk, RECOGNISE, ASK, LISTEN and HELP we can bridge the gap between the communities we serve and the resources that are available while providing a safe non-judgmental safe space to share, open up and or offload.”
With an increase in demand for mental health support barbers and health and beauty industry workers are now undertaking crucial training to offer a safe space to openly communicate about our mental health. Should barbers like Tom be responsible? Is the strain on our current mental health services that leaves many silent sufferers behind. The invisible therapist, the beauty therapist is becoming the one to close that gap that no amount of stigma or need can be met. What is the effect of the responsibility of being the invisible therapist, a therapist who is responsible for the footfall of the nation who cannot reach its demand of support?