It’s Mental Health Awareness week; even though mental health is always a sensitive but important topic, particularly now, while we’re all experiencing the pressure and restrictions of Lockdown and the Covid 19 pandemic, depression and anxiety are at their peak, so we’re keen to emphasise it’s good to talk about it. It’s really okay not to feel okay sometimes. On that note, we would like to share the release of a documentary worth watching, ‘The £1.7 Million Haircut’.
The ‘£1.7 Million Haircut’ documentary tells a personal story about a global issue – men believing that they can’t or shouldn’t talk about their mental health and feeling that there is no way out other than to take their own lives. This is the story about one man’s mission to change this and to saves lives, one haircut at a time.
An important mission
After the death of his friend Alex, Torquay based barber Tom Chapman founded the charity ‘The Lions Barber Collective’. Its mission is to create non-clinical, non-judgemental safe spaces where men feel comfortable to talk about their mental health and to signpost them to support and information. The documentary recounts the story of a life lost to suicide and an ambition to create safe spaces for men to talk, open up and work towards a world free from suicide.
Recognising that barbers and hairdressers are often a trusted and friendly ear to their clients, the documentary shows Tom’s efforts to develop a clinically backed training programme (BarberTalk) for hair stylists to support their communities. He says: “The economic impact per suicide is something I had not really considered before, loss of earning, loss of employment, inquests into the death, it amounts to so much more than we could ever imagine. It now makes what we are doing as a charity even more important, to save lives and make a difference to families out there who have been subject to such tragedy. I am now making it my mission to create a world free from suicide, how could we ask for anything less?”
With someone in the UK taking their own life every 120 minutes, 75% of them being men, the need for change is more crucial than ever. ‘The £1.7 Million Haircut’ follows Tom taking the challenge head on, to break down the stigma around men discussing their mental health. Tom meets with influential leaders in the South West to expose the stark reality the impact suicide has on communities, healthcare services and the economy.
Made by ‘Films by Wonder’, the film is written by Lisa Gardiner, directed by Josh Pratt and demonstrates the charity’s obvious impact on people’s lives. We meet the official ambassadors of the charity, Dan Davies, Darren Birch and Wez Jones who help deliver the BarberTalk training across the country and beyond. Each shares their story of helping their clients as well as close personal accounts of the reality of coping with mental health issues – from post traumatic stress disorder to experiencing suicidal thoughts.
The documentary was released on 18th May and builds on the charity’s momentum to become a global movement by training barbers all over the world to recognise when someone is struggling and support them to find further help. It also shows the reality of the challenges of running a charity. The viewer sees upfront the ever-growing burden of trying to acquire funding and the tough decisions that Tom must make to secure its future.
‘This film will inspire thousands.’ Eddie Temple Morris, Producer and Virgin Radio DJ
‘I defy anyone not to be moved by this film.’ Dr. Annie M Procter, Director of Mental Health Services Cardiff Vale Health Board
View the trailer and the film at: https://vimeo.com/ondemand/millionpoundhaircut
Documentary website: www.the1point7millionpoundhaircut.com
Charity website: www.thelionsbarbercollective.com
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