The Lions Barber Collective is a group of passionate individuals raising awareness for mens mental health and training barbers to recognise the signs within their clients.
This enables them to offer their clients support and signpost them to the help they may need. It all began in 2015 when founder of The Lions Barber Collective, Tom Chapman, gathered a group of top barbers with the vision of creating a hair cut based look book in aid of charity.
Having recently lost an old friend to suicide Tom made the decision to use the look book to raise money for suicide prevention. This concept got Tom thinking about his position as a barber and how he could use this position to help others by more that just giving them a great haircut. From his salon in Torquay, Devon, Tom began to focus on the relationship between barber and client and discovered an unspoken bond of trust. Upon reflection he realised clients talked to him about absolutely everything from birthday parties and holidays to work problems and relationship difficulties.
The connection a barber can make with their client is completely unique. The touching of the head releases oxytocin and creates a closeness putting the client at ease allowing them to feel safe.
Simply by listening to their client and being able to recognise the signs a barber could save a life. Since inception The Lions Barber Collective has grown rapidly into a movement that has attracted interest from barbers all over the world.
We help to provide barbers with the skills and confidence to truly help others. One of our main aims is to raise awareness about suicide prevention and mental wellbeing.
We do this by speaking publicly at industry events. We use this opportunity to remind barbers how privileged we are to share such an open connection with our clients and how much of an impact we can have on their lives.
Our second is to educate barbers using our BarberTalk Live and BarberTalk Lite training platforms. The purpose of these platforms is to provide the barbers with the necessary skills, and knowledge to help their clients. We arm them with the ability to recognise the signs and then to ask their clients direct questions if required.
Most importantly we demonstrate how to listen with empathy and without judgement and then how to help and signpost their client to the existing resources available. We are not trying to make barbers into counsellors. It is more about encouraging barbers to befriend their clients, to look out for them and to be a good listener.
Offloading our problems can do wonders for our mental health and because of our Pride growing in numbers we now have a wonderful support group within the industry to offer support for barbers too. In a way not seen before we have a team of barbers truly passionate about not only supporting their clients but supporting each other too.
Tom Chapman is an award winning barber, author, public speaker, global barber director and international educator – Started career with Toni & Guy in 2002 learning the discipline of structure, sectioning patterns, guides and scissor over comb.
Tom taught himself barbering because of the love for mens hair and alternative styles which required clipper work spending many hours of trial and error on his friends. Tom opened Tom Chapman Hair Design in Torquay, UK in 2011 and began educating 2 years later, since then Tom has educated all over the UK, USA, Canada, Brazil as well as being on stage across Europe reaching the finals of many national competitions including Wahl Barber of the Year.
Tom is a multi published session stylist and platform artist, Tom has even had his work grace the front cover of industry magazines, including HJ Men.
In September 2015 Tom founded The Lions Barber Collective, which started as a group of international barbers raising awareness for suicide prevention. It has developed to become much more and now campaigns for the awareness of mental wellbeing and suicide prevention as well, believing that the barbershop is a great, safe place for men to talk, and through BarberTalk he hopes to train hair professionals across the globe to Recognise, Ask, Listen and Help those in their chairs.
Tom was also invited to deliver a TED Talk, which took place in April 2018 at TEDx Exeter (4th most viewed TEDx community in the world) he has featured on BBC TV and Radio, Channel 4, FOX News (USA) and multiple appearances in national and international press.
Tom has received a Points of Light award for his outstanding volunteer work from the UK Prime Minister Theresa May as well as reaching the 2017 & 2019 Creative Head’s Most Wanted Finals. Winning best innovation at the MOBAA’s. Tom Published his first book The Barber Boom in 2018, with his second book BarberTalk – Taking Pride in Men’s Mental Health being released by mental health charity, Trigger Press being launched in March 2019.