Barbers The Front Line in Suicide Prevention
Are we as psychotherapists out of touch? Are mental health services in the NHS not designed for younger men? Suicide is taking the lives of younger men at an alarming rate, and this rate seems to be on the rise. In 2006, the suicide rate in men was 17.4 perÂ 100000 people. This figure is now (2013) 19 per 100000 people, this is more than triple the rate of suicide in women.
We can look and debate about the causes of suicide, but the reality is that we as a society need to get a grip on this before the statistics become worse.
I read an article today about a barber who arranged suicide prevention training for himself and some of his colleagues in response to the death of his friend. I think that this is a marvellous idea. For many young men the barber shop is a place to hang out and talk to each other. Through this talking, the early signs of suicide can be identified and actioned.
This is not to say that barbers are psychotherapists in disguise. However, it may well be that intervention from a trusted friend like your barber can lead to help being sought in a way that seems less prescriptive than via health advertisements or GP recommendations. Anything that can help young men to avoid taking their own lives should be celebrated and we as professionals should find ways to work together to assist one another in this most important of causes.