Published on 28 July 2022
A mental health initiative from the City of Launceston and the Launceston Suicide Prevention Trial has this week been presented with a People's Choice Award at the Australian Men's Health Forum's 2022 Men's Health Awards.
The Barbers for Life project offered Launceston barbers and community members the opportunity to undertake a mental health first aid course with trainer Jonathan Bedloe.
Launceston Mayor Albert van Zetten said the program had targeted men in the 40-64 year age category, and sought to leverage the relationships built between barbers and clients.
"Barbers formulate regular and ongoing relationships with their clients, and they are uniquely placed to notice any changes in the well-being of their customers," Mayor van Zetten said.
"The Barbers for Life project sought to leverage the relationships barbers build with those clients to encourage communication around mental health. "Men in the 40 to 64 year age category are a key cohort for the Launceston Suicide Prevention Program, and I'm delighted to see the Barbers for Life program recognised nationally as part of the 2022 Men's Health Awards."
Launceston Suicide Prevention coordinator Stephanie Armour said she was thrilled the program had won a People's Choice Award. "The Barbers for Life program was inspired by a similar program developed by Hobart barber Sidney Davies, and it has been enthusiastically supported in Launceston by The Kingsway Barbershop," Ms Armour said.
"It helped us start a lot of conversations with barbers all over Launceston, and we'll now look at how the program might evolve in the future.
"We have some exciting ideas about carrying it forward, and finding new ways to continue to promote the importance of talking about mental health in Northern Tasmania."