In the UK, suicide survivor Ken Hermes works for the Lions Barber Collective, an international group of barbers who raise awareness about preventing suicide.
He says that he lost his dad to suicide when he was 15 and that the experience hit him really hard.
As time passed, he felt that he couldn’t talk to anyone about what he was going through any more: they had grown tired of hearing it. The children at school blocked him out, and there was clearly a big taboo around the subject.
Ken says that he hasn’t felt able to speak out until now. When he heard that barbers were raising awareness of suicide, he knew he had to get involved, and he was asked to film a short video blog explaining his loss. He also explained why he – a non-barber – was getting involved with a group of barbers. The blog had 14,000 views in seven days.
The truth is that men will speak to their barbers about things they wouldn’t tell anybody else, and the #BarberTalk programme teaches barbers how to recognise, talk to, listen to, and advise their clients. With this comes the responsibility to remain confidential, to provide a safe haven for clients, and to offer help where it is needed.
This experience proved to Ken that speaking out not only helped him but could help others who have lost, or are going through depression themselves.