Ohio Barbershop Is A Safe Space For Black Men Coping With Mental Health

Ohio Barbershop Is A Safe Space For Black Men Coping With Mental Health

Mental health is an issue often swept under the rug in Black communities until recent years. As more Black people struggle with suicide and emotional problems, a barbershop in Ohio is doing its part to help people cope with what life throws at them.

According to The Ohio Newsroom, Adrian Favors, a barber at Revive Station Barbershop in Warren, Ohio, is doing his part by speaking to people who may need a release. The barbershop is known to be where you can find out the latest gossip or have conversations with people from the neighborhood. Favors, also known to his clients as “Big A,” makes it a point to ask the people who enter the shop how they are doing.

“I’ve had a lot of guys break down and cry,” Favors said. “That was frowned upon pre-pandemic: ‘Suck it up, man,’ you know. But, sometimes, you do need to let the emotion out to figure things out.”

The suicide rate among Black people in Ohio has increased by 56% in the last 14 years, according to a recent report by the Health Policy Institute.

An initiative was started in Ohio with the Life Is Better With You Here campaign. The program is to help assist people with mental health issues throughout the state while helping to prevent suicide. When the opportunity comes to present clients with info for the program, Favors and other barbers have access to information to pass along to their clients. The initiative has been brought into Black-dominated spaces.

As many Black men know, the conversation at a barbershop, specifically when in the chair, can lead to conversations that aren’t particularly open to discussions elsewhere.

“It’s hard to hide in the chair,” Favors said. “Even if it’s not the first session, it’s gonna eventually happen.”

Shanette Strickland, who leads the campaign, said, “We have to meet people where they are to get the message out. And what we find is: if we’re not going to those places, they’re not seeing it, they’re not hearing it.”

Strickland also shared that COVID-19 took a large toll on mental health within the Black community. With this initiative, the hope is that the stigma tied to mental health issues will be removed, resulting in fewer suicides.