How Barbers Are Encouraging Men to Open Up About Mental Health Issues


– [Lorenzo] Mental health
in the Black community has been a problem for decades. A lot of that plays into the
stigma about mental health and the reason why people are not going to get the help that’s necessary. Barbershops are a safe place
for young men of color. Barbers are our only people in our lives that we allow to get close
proximity with a razor. We realize the barber become our friends, and that’s really important
because I could’ve used that same space and work with barbers to talk about our mental health. (gentle piano music) (gentle string music) My name is Lorenzo Lewis, and I am the founder and
CEO of The Confess Project. The Confess Project is a
national grassroots movement that is geared around building a dialogue of mental health for young men of color. I had a lot of problems as a young person. My mother was incarcerated when
I was born into this world, and with losing my dad at the age of 10, I didn’t know how to deal with it. I would go to this beauty
salon everyday after school, and there was a barber there, and I never forget a lot of the nurturing and care that I got from him really empowered me to wanna do better, really wanted to empower
me to do good in school. I realized that I’m not
the only one struggling. Suicide is the third
leading cause of death for young men of color
between the ages of 18 and 24. And a lot of this plays into communities where there are a lot of
violence and toxic masculinity. So the barbershop was a perfect place to start The Confess Project. I walk into a barbershop and ask them if I can have a moment of their time, and then that moment turns
in an educational session. Thank you all for being here today. I think the most important part of why I really came here today, is to really so that I exhibit to you all how we can break through our pain, and how to part with
that being our purpose. Our goal is to not train barbers
to be mental health experts but to train them to be
mental health advocates. We’re training them with the skills of active listening,
communication, validation, to not be judgemental, to
be sensitive with language so that their clients
can be able to open up and possibly go and get some help and treatment that may be necessary. – I’ve always been feeling
in a depressed state and I never knew why. I still don’t know why. – To be completely honest, it was the first time I’ve
ever heard a black man talk about his struggles with mental health or his emotions with
feeling like he’s low, feeling like he’s in that
hole that he can’t get out of. And that’s a feeling that
I felt before growing up. It’s a feeling that I felt often, and it’s a feeling that I was feeling in that time that I came to here. – I thought it was very powerful, seeing black men coming together, hugging and sharing that
valuable moment together. And you could see it in their eyes and in their emotion.
(crowd applauding) (calm instrumental music) – Since starting The Confess Project, we have now expanded to nine U.S. cities across the southern and mid-west region. It’s really important to
keep that momentum going, and we realize that we still
have a lot of work to do. And it’s one of those things
where we have to create leaders and build a generation of leaders, so that they can be
sustained and also go out and help many more community members that we may not reach. What I specifically love about my job is that I get to work with that side of me that I wasn’t able to
get that same help with and help young men of
color to really thrive and to really become the
best version of who they are. (gentle string music) (gentle ringing)

100 thoughts on “How Barbers Are Encouraging Men to Open Up About Mental Health Issues

  1. The reason why this is a rarity is because black people don’t show their true emotions because of their dysfunctional upbringing. They’re born usually in a large family, their father is sent to prison and their mother doesn’t have time to be a mother because she wasn’t shown love either (which is why she’s in that situation in the first place). So, a black individual is given the choice of being a criminal, rather than a human being; and this is a catalyst that is formed from confusion on who they’re, which they think is hatred or using violence as opposed to compassion. Yes, these are also stereotypes, but it’s true in the US, in poverty stricken areas like Detroit or Chicago.

    That’s why this video is extremely important, it shows how they could vent their feelings, showing love rather than violence.

  2. Respect, it's really important to open up about our feelings. Sadly men in our society are pretty much conditioned to act tough, secretive, not talk about how they feel and what they think. In this day and age, with so much stress, pressure, and the general fact the #1 cause of depression among men is their feeling of not being good enough, we need such openness more than ever. We need to socialize, and be there for each other, show it's okay to have emotions, to doubt, and you don't have to hide your pain. If memory serves me correct, the subject of mental health and suicide was also touched in one of Richard Wolff's most recent videos.

  3. It’s great but I don’t see why he limits it to the black community? Did you notice a few white guys in the videos for very short bits of it? It’s like they tried their best to cut out any other races in the video and just focus on black because that’s the main topic on it. It’s weird I don’t get a unity vibe from this if they’re just drawing a circle and saying blacks only. What about white men? Latino men? Asian men? Can’t they get any love or support? I don’t like to say anything bad about It but we can’t keep grouping each other and self segregating then complain about the lack of unity or trust between communities if this is how it is.

  4. America treat with mental issue people is better than in my country did. I live in 3rd world country. The mental issue people are impossible to get better life or someone to talk into. People here treat them like clown to be mocked everyday.

  5. The worst thing I feel about going to the barber is having to make small talk and staring at myself for 20 min straight.

  6. Those who disliked this video are suckers!
    In my community it was the grocery store guy … going everyday to buy milk and bread from their stores made them the community well-being keepers! Always asking me about my grades and the books I've read!
    I still remember this gentleman next to my school I went everyday asking a sip of water from him! It was a very delicious herb added water … and we had amazing conversations…
    The clothing store owner was just the best listener ever and always tried to advise.
    Personally, these people surrounded me with such a warmth I didn't feel at home!
    It's what I miss the most about my childhood and my younger days …
    God bless you sir! God bless each person within your project ❤

  7. To those who find it weird that only men of color, particularly black men, are the focus of this video, here's my answer to you – Imagine a cooking video tutorial called "Best Chocolate Chip Cookies". Why not rainbow cookies, shortbread, sugar, oatmeal raisin, or any other combination you can think of? Just because! The video is simply showing you a recipe of what someone feels is the best CHOCOLATE CHIP cookies. They're not saying sugar cookies can't be the best also, or oatmeal raisins are nasty and therefore here's this best chocolate chip cookie recipe. It's just a video about chocolate chip cookies! That's it! 😃 Maybe there will be a "Best Sugar Cookies" video next time, who knows? But for THIS video, it's all about chocolate chips 🍪 Hope this helps!

  8. All barbers are unlicensed therapists. You can tell them anything and they’ll talk you through it while making you look pretty

  9. There are a lot of positive people and role models in black culture that have no connection to sports or entertainment. It is nice to see them reflected in positive media as opposed to only the negative of nightly local news. I have always felt that the biggest thing we can do in the black community as a whole is to stop worrying about how whites treat us, which is valid, but to be 99% concerned with how we treat one another. How can we expect whites to believe wholly that Black Lives Matter, when they see us on a weekly, if not daily bases killing and degrading each other. I try and have only positive interactions with fellow blacks. If every black male in particular could do that, our communities of color, and society as a whole would be a better place. Thanks Great Big Story.

  10. All these men will grow up to be wonderful people because they're allowing themselve to heal and bloom. Hope you all be happy !

  11. It doesn't matter how. Or where. Or when. If you're making any one thing better. You're making everything better. Thanks for the hard work and the inspiration.

  12. God bless this man. I’m glad that there are people that are helping these young men dealing with problems that they feel forced to hide.

  13. Now if they can just get the men to be fathers , and the murder rates to go down that would be an accomplishment

  14. I hear a lot about friends and people from the hood that say they were depressed and didn’t even know what it was they were feeling. You and your group are a gift to the community. ❤️

  15. I would check every single one of them for Vitamin D deficiency. And also sleeping disorders. Especially with people with dark skin has a very hard time making Vitamin D naturally. Having low D can lead to sleeping problems and that can lead to many problems in metal health and emotional stability. Not only that being obese increases your demand by 2 to 3 time more vitamin D than normal. So this is a dangerous vitamin to be deficient in since every single cell in the body has a receptor for D.

  16. This is an amazing idea! There is such a stigma when it comes to mental health. With black men, it’s not talked about too much and that needs to change. I love that black men are coming together in a positive way to bring about change in mental health. Please keep this going.

  17. Bless Mr. Lorenzo Lewis and the important work he does. Creating a safe, casual atmosphere to talk about mental health in barber shops (and as result, beyond barbershops) is genius.
    Toxic masculinity ruins things for everybody. Taking a stance against hostility to become an ambassador for empathy and understanding shows true power.

  18. Mental health is just as important as your physical health!! Please start helping each other, it's such a needed help

  19. they have metal issues because of black history month, to complacent with being black in 2019. slavery was 200 years ago get over it

  20. Everyone, no matter the color, gender, age, ect deserves to talk freely about mental health!!! This is awesome!!

  21. Saw your commercial, a few times. The link to subscribe hasn’t worked. But, You had me at foster parents, I was an only child who’s parents fostered back when, let’s say things were different. White families were strongly discouraged from adopting, much less fostering any child not of the “ caucasian race”. My parents eventually stopped, after an attempted, and failed adoption. Love what you’ve created! So I searched and subscribed!

  22. So masculine fraternity is a good thing? Whoda fuckin thunk.. Now if it turns into a purely "anti toxic masculinity" thing it'll fall apart, it's all about healthy masculine community at the end of the day and if ideology seeps in too deeply it corrupts the larger goal. I applaud this guy for what he's doing.

  23. I’m hearing more and more about ‘men’s mental health’ these days and as a sufferer I have to say I’m pleased that we are leaving the stigmas attached behind.

  24. Respect. Soy psicólogo en Chile y tenemos el reto de convencer a los hombres de que la salud emocional y mental es para todos. Abrazos respeto por siempre hacia ti.

  25. This is such a beautiful thing! This is what the world needs. Thank you to all the men doing this! I love the quote "be the person you needed when you were younger."

  26. BLESS this man so much for all that he's doing to help others around him. We need more people like this out there. I seriously wish this man and his movement all the luck I can muster.

  27. I have an African-American friend who's scared to death of her family ever finding out about her depression and her anxiety. I'm glad the world is changing.

  28. 36 dislikes because of the word "toxic masculinity". And because the dislikers believe mental health is just in your head.

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