Black mental health matters, and this is proof.
For Black men, the barbershop has been a safe space to open up and vent about what’s going on inside, which is why Lorenzo Lewis created The Confess Project, America’s first mental health barbershop movement. The organization is on a mission to advocate for mental health by training barbers in the field.
According to KARK, because of its outstanding efforts, the nonprofit was honored by Rainwater, Holton & Sexton with not only the Difference Makers Award but a donation of $1,000.
The Confess Project
After an undiagnosed mental illness landed Lewis in jail, he discovered that the world was in need of more Black mental health advocates. With The Confess Project, he is on a mission to break the stigma around mental health while also disbarring the belief that Black men always have to be strong.
“We’re here to help Black men see that they can be vulnerable, that they can be whole, that they can be celebrated and this is an opportunity for them to see their lives thrive in many ways,” said Lewis in an interview.
What’s more, the nonprofit even partners with prestigious universities.
“We partner with Harvard University,” he continued. “They recognize that barbers can truly be mental health and suicide prevention gatekeepers.”
Sadly, studies show that only one in three African Americans who need mental health care actually receive it. What makes this even worse is that only four percent of the psychology workforce is made up of Black psychologists.
Making A Difference
“Barbershops have historically been recognized as a place to make change, to have conversations if it’s about sports or everyday life,” said Lewis in an interview.
As AfroTech previously reported, the organization started in Arkansas in 2016 and has already trained more than 1,000 barbers in more than 40 cities across various states. One of those barbers is Christopher Hitch at Picture Perfect Barbershop.
“That is really something that goes on in the Black community, mental health issues and it being such a serious topic and we just wanted to be a part of it to play our part and just help where we could,” Hitch recalled.
Click here for more on The Confess Project.