‘Don’t bottle it up’ - barber shop launches mental health campaign in wake of coronavirus impact
PUBLISHED: 15:01 06 October 2020 | UPDATED: 17:43 06 October 2020
A family-run barber shop has launched a mental health campaign to help raise awareness and support those struggling as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.
Staff at Morton’s Barbershop in Downham Market felt urged to set up the ‘Don’t Bottle It Up’ campaign to support those in need of help in the local community after hearing the struggles clients have suffered during this period.
The campaign, which was launched on Saturday, October 3 with the business’s resident DJ Cameron J, will run throughout the month - with the aim of creating a conversation about mental health in the lead up to World Mental Health Day on October 10.
Co-owner Lesa Morton said: “As a small business in a little market town coming out of lockdown was always going to have it’s challenges.
“However we didn’t prepare or consider one of the most difficult would be seeing clients and hearing of their difficulties both during lockdown, and as we try to recover and build our lives around the devastation it has left some of us with.
“Some clients visiting us wanted to share their experiences, for many of which it was the first time leaving their home for many months.
“It quickly became obvious that the impact of Covid and the lockdown restrictions had stolen so much - money, family, partners, self respect, security, to name a few.”
Ms Morton said the team discussed concerns and felt they could play a part in supporting people after realising the difference they could make.
She added: “We are part of an amazing industry where we can have those private conversations with men who may be struggling and try our best in the time they are in our chairs to make a difference.
“It is reported men are less likely to visit their GP, but on average barbers and hairdressers listen to their clients for 200 hours per year.
“The Samaritans claim 75pc suicides are men, with it being the single biggest killer in under 45 in the UK.
“These startling statistics cannot be sugar-coated.
“We feel our industry can make a difference we have a platform we can build from, to learn to recognise those that may need support, have the confidence to ask questions, listen without judgement and signpost help.”
The shop will be selling coffee and cake throughout the week with proceeds going to local mental health support and artist Alton Wahlberg will be performing on Saturday, October 10 to raise money for the cause.
A ‘Don’t bottle it up’ directory of mental health support contacts is being created that will be kept in the shop.
Ms Morton said: “We want to encourage people to keep talking about mental health, don’t bottle it up.”
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