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This Stylist Listens Project

Posted on the 1st February 2017

We tell our hairdressers everything, so why not how we are feeling? Silence is the biggest killer of young people in the UK. With this in mind barbers and stylists in Central Lancashire are being invited to a pilot event to encourage better conversations around mental health and wellbeing.

The ‘This Stylist Listens’ project is a partnership between Lancashire Care NHS Foundation Trust and Preston City Council and aims to make wellbeing everyone’s business by encouraging and supporting hairdressers to be happy to talk by allowing better conversations about how we are feeling.

The pilot event run by Lancashire Care’s Community Restart Service will take place in Central Lancashire in 2017 and provide the opportunity for local salons and charities in Central Lancashire to learn about mental health, wellbeing and communication styles. As well as providing information about the support available and practical advice on how best to signpost to the right people at the right time. As part of the programme salons are also going to be encouraged to offer quiet chairs or choices that allow the stylist and the client time to be mindful, or simply enjoy some headspace.

Lewis Smith-Connell, Community Restart Project Lead at Lancashire Care NHS Foundation Trust said:

“Approaching the NHS and other mental health services is a big step and one that too few of those who are struggling are taking before it becomes too late. The project intends to move the entry point of help from NHS buildings to the places that people live, work and enjoy. You don’t have to be a doctor or psychologist to talk, it is a fundamental part of daily life and by making simple changes in how we communicate we can make a big change to people’s lives.

“The idea came from the Lions Barber Collective, a group of barbers in Torquay who got together after recognising they had all been affected by the suicide of someone they were close to. The service recognised how a project like that can be so important at saving lives and supporting the mental health of people in the community. With their blessing we have created the ‘This Barber and This Stylist Listens’ networks to help the people of Lancashire and create a more open space for conversations about mental health and wellbeing.

“We are planning to pilot the event in the next few months with the hope to roll the programme wider later on within the year.”

Matthew Brown, Executive Member for social justice, inclusion and policy at Preston City Council said:

“We are really pleased to support this innovative pilot, looking to remove barriers that often prevent people from accessing the support they need.  It’s important to us to keep finding new ways for people to feel more comfortable to talk about what has traditionally been a taboo topic and for many is a hidden disability."  

Councillor Brown, Preston Council Cabinet Member for Society said:

“This is really impressive. It is rare I am inspired these days but in this instance I very much am. Well done indeed.”

For more information on the project please contact Lewis Smith-Connell from the Community Restart service on 01772 773600 or Lewis.Smith-Connell@lancashirecare.nhs.uk.