A BRADFORD barber has joined a national charity to help spot the symptoms of mental health and depression.

Khurram Ramson, who has run Ramson’s Gents Grooming on Wibsey High Street for six years, is supporting men’s mental health charity The Lions Barber Collective, encouraging men to man up and talk.

In time for today’s World Suicide Prevention Day, the charity has released findings from its new survey, showing that more than half of men feel more comfortable discussing issues such as depression with their barbers than their doctors.

Mr Ramson hopes more barbers will now join the charity’s initiative to listen to customers and encourage them to open up more.

He said: “Through building a genuine relationship with the client in the chair, barbers are able to offer support on many different levels. Sometimes a man just needs someone he can trust to confide in. He doesn’t want to be told what he should do or how to fix his problem, he just wants someone to listen.”

The survey also suggests the family doctor relationship of the past is slowly dying.

Charity founder Tom Chapman said: “Because of this, thousands of men are likely hiding from issues that they should be comfortably discussing with their doctors, such as depression, anxiety, and even Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.”

The survey sampled 1,908 men aged 15 to 70 living in Britain and revealed that 53 per cent of them are more likely to discuss private issues, such as depression and other mental health issues, with their barbers while 78 per cent of them also make a conscious effort to regularly visit the same barber. In comparison, only 54 per cent of those men found themselves seeing the same doctor when visiting their local health centre.

The survey results also showed 71 per cent of men have good, or in some cases a very good relationship with their barber, while 59 per cent rated their patient to doctor relationship as just average or poor.

Suicide is the single biggest killer of men under the age of 45 in the UK, according to The Samaritans in 2014, 74 per cent of all suicide victims in the UK were male.

Bradford is currently working as part of a West Yorkshire-wide plan to reduce suicide and bring about improvements. As part of a Crisis Care Concordat, partners from across the district, including the NHS, local authority, police, Yorkshire Ambulance Service as well as voluntary and community sector are working together to make improvements.

This has led to the development of initiatives such as Bradford District Care Trust’s First Response Service, offering 24-hour support over seven days a week to people of all ages living in Bradford, Airedale, Wharfedale or Craven, experiencing mental health crisis, as well as social workers and mental health liaison staff in A&E, Sanctuary, a calm and safe place operated by Bradford based MIND for adults experiencing acute mental distress, and Haven services at Shipley’s Cellar Trust offering support in the community, rather than A&E, for adults who are feeling in mental distress or crisis.

For more information about Haven call 01274 221181 or visit thecellartrust.org/client-services/haven.