It’s a near certainty that when you sit down in your barber’s chair they’re going to ask you how you’re doing. National Barber Mental Health Awareness Day on May 19 was created to ensure that we’re remembering to return the question, to check in with our barbers as they so often check in on us. Barbers work intimately with multiple people every day, dealing with different energies and personalities all the time. It’s not uncommon for a customer to unload their personal struggles onto their barber and that can be a heavy burden to carry, especially if the barber is having a bad day themselves. National Barber Mental Health Awareness was created by Booksy — the app that connects a community of thousands of beauty and health service providers with their customers— to help people realize that barbers take on a lot and to give them the opportunity to talk about their problems, too.
History of National Barber Mental Health Awareness Day
Recent times have seen a growing recognition for the unique role that barbers can and do take on in helping people with their mental health. One such example is a non-profit venture that sees a barbershop double as a place for men of color to talk about their problems. A similar program is forming in the U.K. where the N.H.S., the U.K.’s public health service, launched an initiative in 2020 to provide mental health first aid training for barbers. Barbers have been practicing their trade for thousands of years but it’s only as the world has become increasingly aware of mental health that barbers have been acknowledged for often taking on the role of a therapist, listening to their customers’ problems with an empathetic ear.
On a daily basis, Booksy, which supports and directly communicates with a community that includes thousands of barbers, sees the important role that barbers play in their customers’ lives. This led Booksy to ask, who was there to return the favor; who was checking in on the barbers? Barbers are often independent, passionate entrepreneurs who work tirelessly to keep their customers happy and their businesses growing. It’s a lot to take on, and so, Booksy created National Barber Mental Health Awareness Day as a way of letting barbers know that it’s okay to have an off day, it’s okay to take some time for themselves, and it’s okay for them to talk about their problems, too.
National Barber Mental Health Awareness Day timeline
The first-ever barbering services can be traced back to ancient Egypt, where they used instruments created from oyster shells or sharpened flint to give their customers a trim.
The world’s first barber school is established by A.B. Moler in Chicago.
A research study finds that black men experience benefits to their well-being from a visit to the barber.
Barbers in the U.K. begin to receive mental-health training as it becomes clear that many men feel comfortable opening up to them.
Booksy creates and launches the first National Barber Mental Health Awareness Day.
National Barber Mental Health Awareness Day FAQs
Is getting a haircut good for your mental health?
Alan Wilmart, a director of behavioral health, has been quoted as saying that getting a haircut can make a person feel better and improve their mental health instantly.
What’s a barber’s work-life balance like?
Barbers are passionate about what they do and it is one of the reasons they commit to working hard to build a successful career. The hours can be long and sometimes unsociable, but it’s a career that encourages independence and creativity.
Who can I talk to about my mental-health difficulties?
If you are experiencing mental-health difficulties and would like to talk to someone, you can call the National Alliance on Mental Illness on 1-800-950-6264. NAMI provides treatment options and programs to raise awareness and provide support and education to those in need. The NAMI hotline is available every Monday through Friday, from 10 am – 6 pm. Here is their website: https://www.nami.org/help.
How to Observe National Barber Mental Health Awareness Day
Reach out to your barber
Let your barber know how much you appreciate them and that you’re there for them if they need someone to talk to. You could even send them a little gift. Who doesn’t like surprises?
Take some time for yourself
If you’re a barber then why not take some time for yourself? You may be too busy to take the whole day off, but even if it’s just giving yourself a full hour for lunch for a change, make sure you set aside some extra time for yourself.
Talk to people in the industry
This is a complex topic and, whether you’re a barber or just an interested party, it’s a great idea to talk to shop owners and hear their thoughts. Open discussions help remove any stigmas and move the conversation forwards.
5 Facts About Barbers
We’re loyal to our barbers
The average person has been going to the same barber for the past seven years.
A lot of clients
Estimates suggest that the average barber has between 80 and 100 clients per week.
Going it alone
A study from 2016 revealed that 72% of barbers in the U.S. are self-employed.
Competition is high
There are 140,000 businesses providing barbershop services in the United States.
The average barber works 44 hours per week.
Why National Barber Mental Health Awareness Day is Important
We care about our barbers
Many consumers are loyal to their barbers and see them as an extension of their circle of family and friends. Your barber is, after all, someone who helps you transform and feel fresh. It’s good to show them that you appreciate them and let them know that you care.
Barbers have problems, too
Barbers are so great at lending a sympathetic ear to our problems that it is easy to forget that they have their own problems, too. In establishing National Barber Mental Health Awareness Day, Booksy creates a safe space for barbers to open up and discuss those problems.
Every voice should be heard
Being a barber is one of those professions that lends itself to doing a lot of listening. Sure, barbers have a lot of back and forth with their customers, but a desire to keep the client happy doesn’t always marry well with opening up about your own problems. This holiday is here to let barbers know that they have a voice and it’s okay to say they are struggling.
National Barber Mental Health Awareness Day dates