LOCAL BARBERS BECOME MENTAL HEALTH ADVOCATES

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WFFT) - Lorenzo Lewis, Executive Director of The Confess Project, is teaming up with Parkview Health, Purdue University Fort Wayne, and Fort Wayne Girls Rock to help men of color with their mental health.

Men are getting hair cuts and opening up, and the barbers cutting the hair are learning how to be mental health advocates through what Lorenzo calls The Confess Project.

"The barber is the only person that can get close to a man with a razor or any sharp object, and while understanding that, it's also a person they can really end up trusting," Lewis explained.

The National Alliance on Mental Illness said only one-quarter of African-Americans seek mental health care, compared to 40 percent of whites.

Deonte Williams said there are plenty of times where he's been the voice of reason when people sit in his chair for a haircut.

"You have people that sit in your chair everyday opening up to you. You don't expect it. Everybody that sits in your chair is a different person. They may start general conversation and then you fall into conversation, and then they tell you they're going through something. You don't recognize it off top, but they confide in you because they trust you," Williams said.

It's that trust they believe could help men of all ages. DeMarcus Benson said this is a cool way to do it.

"We got to be creative and we got to find different ways to tackle the young mind, so I think this is something beneficial," Benson said.

Brave Bureau