Lyall Brand, barber at Hár Barber in Fife, Scotland recently posted a video focusing on mental health – both that of a barber and their client. Brave, honest and illuminating, we wanted to find out more about the moving video …
Lyall says: “I posted a video at the end of January explaining my struggles with mental health, both as a young man living with emotions I’m still understanding myself, and as someone who wants as many people suffering in silence to speak up.
The aim of the video was to help at least one other person. Maybe hearing someone speak up about their own experiences would help someone understand what they may be going through during the uncertainty brought on by lockdown. Now I didn’t expect the video to reach as far as it did, nor did I think it would lead to someone wanting me to write about it, but if this message can reach another person somewhere further than my local area, then I’m happy it’s done it’s job.
[Click here to see Lyall’s video!]
I’m a barber and I’m traditional as they come. I love my job – I drink coffee, listen to good music and chat sh*t all day. Barbering can be thought of as a purely service job with some days that scratch that creative itch a lot of us have. You know what I mean – you’re cutting two back and sides, your older gent comes in for a chat and then – boom – a client comes in wanting a slick back or a style that gives you some direction. But really, it’s dealer’s choice. That’s what makes it fun.
However, to me and I’m sure many others, barbering is more than just this. It’s the relationships you build with your clients, the professional in you that gives them the best service and haircut from their first to their 100th visit. Consistency is key in our craft. That’s what it is. It’s a craft to me. I’m not reinventing the wheel, I’m just giving them an amazing haircut every time. But for me, that is just a small part of the service the barbershop provides.
I have dealt with depression for over five years now. I have had my struggles, but I have had good days too. Now I’m sure, if you’re anything like me, 2020 and the start of this year hasn’t given you the best scenario to improve your mental health. I returned to work on the 15th of July last year and during that semi-lockdown where life was kind of returning to normal, apart from the fact that you couldn’t go to the cinema or to a pub after 10 at night. Things just felt flat and unending. I saw it working behind the chair in my own clients’ moods and mental health. One of them who I have known for over two years now, always happy and laughing coming in the shop and grabbing a drink from the fridge. He just didn’t seem right. Within 5 minutes of talking to him and being open with my own feelings of depression and anxiety, he started to have a panic attack. He didn’t understand what was going on but from my own past experience I knew he needed help. I urged him to speak to someone and send me a message if he needed to chat anytime. This is the reality of our situation, I feel the world was already going through a mental health crisis but with the pandemic, that’s only driven things so much worse than they were. Thankfully, he did speak to someone and he’s now getting help.
Because I’ve had my own troubles and experiences I always talk to my clients. I get them to open up. Or if I can tell something isn’t quite right or they’re stressed about something trivial, I take their mind off their worries when they’re in my chair. That’s the biggest part of barbering and it’s what makes us pillars of the communities we serve. When we’re back to work remember to keep it simple, take care of yourself and try your best to take care of your clients.”