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Why Black Barbers Should Be Considered Essential Workers in America

Updated: Feb 24

Study confirms valuable role of Black barbers in empowering and healing Black community members.


The Confess Project, America’s First Mental Health Barbershop Movement,” participates in a research study with Harvard University as part of the “Barbers Are Mental Health Gatekeepers #BarbersAreGatekeepers” Campaign. Study confirms valuable role of Black barbers in empowering and healing Black community members.


Harvard researchers interviewed 32 barbers–a majority of which are part of TCP’s Barber Coalition– to better understand what role barbers may play as mental health advocates, suicide prevention, and interpersonal violence gatekeepers. These interviews took place between September and December 2020 and consisted of open-ended questions that explored the barbers’ experiences and perspectives regarding mental health and community services. The researchers’ goal was to identify new methods to reduce traumatic injury and death among Black male youth while sharing the work of barber gatekeepers.


In short, the research confirms that Black barbers play an essential role in Black communities as change agents. Black barbers could create lasting racial change, help Black community members build trust with one another, and bridge the gap in Black communities between unmet mental health needs and mental health care.

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