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Camden barbers tackle mental health inequality

PUBLISHED: 17:07 16 February 2016 | UPDATED: 17:07 16 February 2016

Camden Barbers have been trained to read early signs of mental health problems

Camden Barbers have been trained to read early signs of mental health problems

Archant

In a bid to ‘fight mental health inequality’ in Camden, black barbers are being trained to recognise early signs of mental health problems.

Camden Barbers have been trained to read early signs of mental health problemsCamden Barbers have been trained to read early signs of mental health problems

A group of eight Camden barbers have completed the Mental Health First Aid course with the intention of the reaching out to black men in the community.

Camden barber, Sam, said: “As barbers we get to meet many, many people. We speak with guys who we can tell are unwell, but they don’t talk about it and aren’t getting help.”

Another barber, Steve, added: “That’s why we have got to change things. We want people to talk about it and to know it is normal. Mental health is just like physical health, sometimes it is good, other times not so good. If we talk about it, hopefully other guys will too.”

According to Camden Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), who funded the training, about 37,000 people in Camden suffer from a ‘common’ mental health problem like anxiety and depression.

Camden Barbers have been trained to read early signs of mental health problemsCamden Barbers have been trained to read early signs of mental health problems

Camden is also has the second highest prevalence of serious mental illness in England.

In the same review, it was revealed that black men are underrepresented in primary care for ‘common’ mental health problems.

The review stated that the number of black men admitted to hospital with ‘serious’ mental health illnesses, such as schizophrenia, is five times higher than the amount treated in primary care for ‘common’ mental health problems.

Dave, who owns a barbers on Camden Road, said:, “We’re not here to give professional support. We are here to let guys know it is nothing to be ashamed of and if they need more support, we will tell them where they can go.”

The creative initiative was featured on BBC One’s The One Show as part of a mental health special.

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