Project HairCare - Dr. Alex Reed
Colorado Black Health Collaborative & Behavioral Health AccessFeb 22, 2023
Dr. Alex Reed, he/him/his
Associate Professor, Director of Behavioral Health Education, University of Colorado Family Medicine Residency
The Black barbers and stylists who inspired this project report hearing stories of mental health from the clients they serve every day. They want tools to help their clients get the help they deserve.
This project is a collaboration between Dr. Alex Reed of the University of Colorado School of Medicine, Dr. Terri Richardson of the Colorado Black Health Collaborative and our champion Black barbers and stylists.
How are diversity, equity, inclusion, and anti-racism exemplified in this work?
Black men and women in the U.S. have increased mental health challenges made worse by COVID-19 and daily social injustices. There are many barriers for the Black community to get the mental health services they need, including stigma with mental illness, distrust of the healthcare system, lack of providers who look like them and not knowing about available treatments that can help.
Barbers and stylists are trusted members of the Black community and they see some of the same folks on a regular basis. They spend significant amounts of one-on-one time with their clients and provide an atmosphere of psychological safety. Barbers and stylists are not a family member and their conversations feel protected, even though there is no specific confidentiality agreement. Their clients may open up to them about relationship stress, financial difficulties, substance use, all of the common concerns brought up to mental health providers. This makes them great candidates to provide some level of support to their clients' mental health needs and provide mental health resources in the community.
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