The barbers encouraging men to open up about mental health one haircut at a time

Video report by ITV News Meridian's James Davies

A barber shop is working to make a difference by focusing on not just giving people a haircut, but helping them look after their mental health.

After losing a friend to suicide, Tom Chapman set up The Lions Barber Collective, whose mission is to reduce male suicide rates by encouraging men to talk while getting a trim.

Tom's team came to Reading Station to offer free haircuts and give men the chance to open up.

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He said: "This can be life saving. Well I know it's life saving - we've saved lives and I hope we continue to save others.

"A key story of one of those is a friend called Paul who came into my chair and told me everything that he was going through - offloaded to me. I didn't really do much - I listened and that was enough to get him back in his car, drive to his family's house and start his journey to recovery."

Watch: Tom Chapman, Founder and CEO of The Lions Barber Collective

Tom has been cutting hair for 20 years and now teaches other barbers to notice the signs of mental health problems.

According to statistics, suicide is the biggest killer of males under the age of 45. Meanwhile the highest suicide rate is amongst men aged 45 to 49.

Barber Connor Evans says: "We are taught to ask the right questions so we don't ever want anyone to feel like they're in an environment where they don't feel comfortable you know. We are trained to spot the signs.

"No judgements - you know you can talk about whatever you want and just get things off your chest."

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Tom hopes more barbers will join him but he says we can all play a part in helping men speak up when they're feeling down.

He said: "We can all recognise the signs in our friends and family. We can all ask better questions and not be scared to ask direct questions. We can all listen well.

"Try not to fix or solve, but actually just say to someone look I don't know what you're going through but I'm here if you want to talk to me."

Although Tom and his team are not therapists or councillors, they hope by listening and pointing those who are struggling in the right direction, they can reduce male suicide rates one haircut at a time.

For more about the Britain Get Talking campaign click here

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