Year: 2023 Source: Mental Health & Prevention. (2023). 31, 200291. SIEC No: 20231644
Homicide and suicide rank first and third among the causes of death for Black males aged under 35 in the US. Black barbers trained in supporting the mental health of their customers are uniquely positioned to intervene in the deaths of young Black males due to their frequent and personal interactions. However, few studies have explored the impact that these targeted early interventions may have on supporting the mental health of young Black men. Thus, this article undertakes a qualitative interpretative phenomenological analysis (IPA) on the impact that early interventions from trained barbers may have on Black youth. Interviews with 32 barbers were carried out to engage with their life stories as community members, trained barbers, and personal experiences as mental health advocates including lessons learned from related training. Findings revealed that Black barbers: 1) act as a mental health lifeline for the community through their listening; 2) help break down stigmas around mental health; 3) are well positioned to intervene and prevent community and domestic violence; and 4) are also women and can be an inspiration to women in the local community. Overall, this study highlights the challenges and importance of supporting barbers of color communities through the US and the need for future studies on barbers both domestically and internationally.