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Scheme which trained hairdressers to talk about male mental health wins national award

PUBLISHED: 15:13 24 November 2017 | UPDATED: 15:13 24 November 2017

Oz Osborne, who runs the 12th Man initiative, collecting its award in the Mental Health First Aid awards. Picture: MHFA England

Oz Osborne, who runs the 12th Man initiative, collecting its award in the Mental Health First Aid awards. Picture: MHFA England

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A project encouraging men to talk about their mental health has won a national award.

Nick Little, front left, and Oz Osborne, front right, who have started the project The Twelfth Man, with help from barbers Steve Bunn, front 2nd right, and Mike Nicholson, front 2nd left, co -owners of Croppers, with other barbers, in a barbers collective in Norwich to be trained as mental health first aiders. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY Nick Little, front left, and Oz Osborne, front right, who have started the project The Twelfth Man, with help from barbers Steve Bunn, front 2nd right, and Mike Nicholson, front 2nd left, co -owners of Croppers, with other barbers, in a barbers collective in Norwich to be trained as mental health first aiders. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

The 12th Man barbers shop project was launched in May, and saw 12 barbers trained to talk to their customers about how they feel.

The scheme, which was run by Outsiders Community Consultants and received £3,000 from the Norwich Clinical Commissioning Group, has now won the innovation section of the Mental Health First Aid awards.

MORE: Norwich hairdressers being trained to help tackle mental health issues

Judges told Oz Osborne, who runs the social enterprise, that it was a reminder that mental health first aid skills could be used anywhere at any time.

Mr Osborne said: “In all honesty, the result has been amazing. I’ve worked on the national Time to Change mental health anti-stigma campaign since 2008 and in all the work I’ve done around the country, I’ve not witnessed anything that has more impact than we were able to create with this project.”

He said they had since worked with more barbers, retailers, a coffee shop, pub and fish bar.

Tracy Williams, chairman of the clinical commissioning group, said: “This is such an innovative approach to reaching out and engaging men to talk about their health and wellbeing.

“We know that men are not generally good at accessing mainstream services for health care and in particular getting support when their mental health is causing a problem for them.”

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