Many people often confide with their barbers, and it can often make a hairdresser feel like an amateur psychologist. Now a new program called Barbershop Talk has given African American men a new outlet to talk openly about their mental health issues.
While a lot of people will talk to their barbers and hairdressers about everything and nothing just to pass the time, this program is encouraging a number of African American men to make their mental and physical well-being part of the discussion as well, and apparently, it’s helping.
As NBC reports, this is an event that is currently in its second year, and as the network explains, “it uses a barber’s counseling and conversation skills normally used in the shop in a community setting instead.” Apparently in a different setting men feel more comfortable about opening up about their feelings, and this program was set up in conjunction with The National African American Male Wellness Initiative.
As one barber told WLWT, “The barbershop is the mecca. That is where every black man –man—just comes to talk about anything,” and this is why a barbershop is now being looked at as a potential mecca for men to open up about their feelings. “Us as men, we can sit back and have a fluent conversation, like, ‘Hey bro, you need to get this done.’ When you are in the barbershop, its like, ‘Hey bro, do you want me to do this?’ It’s like, ‘Yeah, you should! It is better for your health, it is better for your mind, better for your thoughts.’”
Another Trojan horse that is being used to get African American men to open up is through comedy, and this is being done in conjunction with the barbershop program. Funnyman Palmer Williams Jr. has called this “comedy with a cause,” and as he told WLWT, “Sometimes in that vulnerability, you are able to open up and talk about the things that you may not otherwise talk about.”