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Barber launches T-shirts designed to get men talking about mental health

PUBLISHED: 18:11 24 July 2018 | UPDATED: 18:11 24 July 2018

T-shirts launched by That Barber. Picture: Craig Birtchnell

T-shirts launched by That Barber. Picture: Craig Birtchnell

Archant

A Norwich barber is hoping to encourage more young men to talk about their mental health by launching a series of T-shirts and tote bags designed to get conversations started.

Craig Birtchnell. Picture: Luis HoldenCraig Birtchnell. Picture: Luis Holden

Craig Birtchnell opened That Barber in Magdalen Road, Norwich, in December 2017.

Hoping to open more than just a barber shop, the 29-year-old said his aim for the business was to create a place at the heart of the community. Describing the first few months, Mr Birtchnell said: “It’s been really good fun finding lots of different people from all walks of life and building a community.”

Now, in a bid to change attitudes towards mental health in the barber shop industry Mr Birthchnell, who has struggled with his own mental health, has launched a series of T-shirts and tote bags to start conversations and raise money for the mental health charity Mind.

Mr Birtchnell said: “I have struggled with my own mental health for years and it’s only in the last 18 months that I have come to peace with how I feel.

T-shirts and totes launched by That Barber. Picture: Craig BirtchnellT-shirts and totes launched by That Barber. Picture: Craig Birtchnell

“I see so many men come into the shop who think they cannot talk about things because a barbers shop should be a macho place. It just got me thinking about something whether something else could be done other than an event during mental health awareness week.”

Using the work of the illustrator Daniel Baker, the T-shirts feature a coffin design which Mr Birtchnell hopes will catch people’s eye: “The T-shirts look quite decent, but they have a particularly strong message.

“It’s something that’s going to get people talking and even if it just gets people talking then that gets people thinking in different ways.

“I thought it would be a good way of raising awareness. It’s easy to say you’re fine but sometimes you’re not fine.”

Mr Birtchnell added that he hoped the T-shirts would be the start of things to come at That Barber, saying:: “The main aim was to create a hub within the community. Money is not the main motivation otherwise I wouldn’t be making T-shirts for charity.

“I have got such a good opportunity to use the shop for other things.”

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