Brisbane Barber on a mission: cutting hair and stigma
An innovative new Barber Shop has opening its doors in East Brisbane with the aim of "stamping out the stigma linked to men, mental health and suicide".
The shop, called Stigma Cutz, describes itself as a "new school/traditional old school charity barber" with a slight twist, its barbers are trained in Mental Health First Aid.
According to the team behind the project, barber shops have traditionally been establishments of discrete congregation for men and one of the few places where a man may engage in conversation and seek honest, caring but unbiased advice on the things going on in his life.
There is something about a barber shop that makes men drop their walls and speak openly and this is the foundation the founders of the project say they are building on.
Stigma Cutz isn't the first program to use the male-friendly setting of a barber shop to reach men.
The Black Barbershop Outreach Program, founded in the U.S. in 2007, is dedicated to preventing cardiovascular disease among African American Men. It recently launched an initiative to screen over 500,000 African American men for diabetes and high blood pressure.
Another example is the Lions Barber Collective, started in the UK, is an international collection of top barbers who have come together to help raise awareness for the prevention of suicide.
The organisation behind Stigma Cutz in Brisbane is A Chance For Change, a men's mental health project which was established in 2016 by two friends, Ivan Mardones and Sam Weick.