Barbershops Are Becoming Safe Spaces for Black Men to Talk About Their Mental Health

Little Rock barber Taiwan Dickerson gives clients trims while also helping them find mental health support. (Photo by FOX 16 News videographer Stephen Goodale)

Trim day at the barbershop can bring a sharp line or fade, but now that time in a chair comes with much more than a dope cut.

Through a program called The Confess Project, licensed barbers are trained to be mental health champions for black men who are less likely to see a therapist.

Many clients say barbershops are a safe place for African American men, and it’s in the barber’s chair that clients get a fresh look designed with mental healing.

“In a lot of places, even maybe at work or sometimes even at home, I might feel uncomfortable to express myself in a certain way,” barbershop client Lee Willingham said. “So when I come to the barbershop, I can relax and pretty much talk about anything.”

Power 92 Jams radio personality Houston Stackhouse speaks openly about mental health. He too finds support through his barber, who was trained by The Confess Project.

“I know personally.  I’ve been fighting a lot of depression and anxiety for about 15 years,” Stackhouse said. “I’m able to come in here and relax and just let everything go.”

Organization founder and Little Rock, Arkansas, native Lorenzo Lewis struggled with his own mental health issues for years.

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SOURCE: My FOX 8, Bill Smith and Donna Terrell