Our work Areas of our work Short Black n Sides “We’re listeners, really; a lot of people come in the barbershop and it’s not really about the cut, it’s about the conversation.” Short Black n Sides is an innovative pilot project providing a platform for men from Black and Asian communities to talk about, normalise and challenge the stigma surrounding mental health in their own communities. It is through an understanding and appreciation of the historical legacy of the barbershop that this project has been shaped. The project’s foundation was about taking the message to where men meet, socialise and feel relaxed. Men’s relationship with mental health can be a challenging one. Asking for help can be hard and men often feel intense pressure to maintain an exterior of control and may view asking for help, or even talking about feelings as a sign of weakness. At a societal level, there is stigma attached to mental health. However, within Black and Asian communities there is often a deeper mistrust and unease, reinforced by a belief that talking about feelings and emotions can be interpreted as a flaw. The relationship between barber and customer is a loyal one, and often cuts, fades and shapes happen as often as once a week or fortnight. This means many men see their barber more often then they see their friends, GP and members of their own family. Who else better, to recognise changes in a person’s mood or outlook on life than their barber? Click here to read the report!