Prince William is seeing first-hand just how much of an impact a chat over a haircut can have

By Simon Perry
February 14, 2019 07:33 AM
WILL OLIVER/EPA-EFE/REX/Shutterstock

Prince William is seeing first-hand just how much of an impact a chat over a haircut can have.

William threw royal head behind an initiative to help the mental well-being of men during a visit to a barber shop in London on Thursday.

The prince, 36, went to Pall Mall Barbers, in Paddington, London, to visit with members of the Lions Barber Collective — an international group who are working for the prevention of suicide and providing training for barbers to recognize signs of depression and mental health issues.

William’s visit comes one day after Kate Middleton highlighted the work being done to help children and teachers tackle mental well-being in schools.

The idea of new initiative BarbersTalk stems from the belief that the barber’s chair has been an effective place for men to feel comfortable and open up – and those with the clippers are being helped to recognize signs of depression and mental health issues, and to listen to clients and advise them on the best places to go for support.

AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth
AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth

Tom Chapman, founder and CEO of the Lions Barber Collective, told PEOPLE after the visit, “It’s something he’s passionate about and wants to drive forward with. He realizes that we are at the tip of the iceberg with mental health. Although it’s come a long way in the last five to 10 years, we have a long way to go. But we’re heading in the right direction.”

“He’s genuinely interested in everyone’s story and spent a lot of time talking to the guys,” Chapman added. “He was talking about the relationships between fathers and sons in general and the importance of himself and us passing it on to the next generation. He said he’s come across guys who don’t want to talk professionally but when you get a group of men together people are far more comfortable talking.”

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William — who has campaigned to combat male suicide and championed the importance of mental health in the workplace — met Richard Marshall, the Managing Director of Pall Mall Barbers, and Tom Chapman, the founder of the Lions Barber Collective. Chapman was inspired to use his work as a barber to raise awareness and support mental health following the suicide of a close friend in 2014.

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Later in the morning, the royal father of three headed to a session called “Future Dads” aimed at building stronger families by providing practical guidance, advice and support, especially for young dads.

Set up by the charity Future Men, the initiative runs in locations across London.

Christopher Muwanguzi, CEO of the charity, introduced the prince to a group taking part in a session discussing the importance of self-care when becoming a father, and he chatted with a group of men — and their children — who have completed the course and learned how they have found the reality of the transition to fatherhood.

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