Barbers tackle the mental health crisis

Barbershops have long been the hub of neighborhoods, serving as a gathering place for the community. Now, with support from Mercy Partnership Fund investee Southern Bancorp Community Partners (SBCP), one man is partnering with barbershops to tackle the mental health crisis in the Black community.

Seeing the relief and happiness in clients at his aunt’s salon, Lorenzo Lewis was inspired to establish a platform that provides mental health services for people of color in underprivileged areas. Building on the sense of community in barbershops and beauty salons, Lorenzo launched The Confess Project, dubbed “America’s First Mental Health Barber Shop Movement,” to educate barbers to be mental health advocates, establishing safe venues for Black men and boys to confess their concerns and receive comfort. The project addresses the lack of mental health resources in the Black community and the high suicide rate among Black men. To date, more than 3,000 barbers and beauty industry professionals have been trained in 53 cities, impacting more than 2.4 million people. Lorenzo is establishing the Confess Project Beauty Coalition to address the mental health needs of Black women and girls.

Mercy Partnership Fund investee SBCP, a community development financial institution, provided Lorenzo with financial assistance for the Confess Project. SBCP lends in Arkansas and Mississippi – two of the United States’ poorest states – and is also helping to finance Lorenzo’s other well-being programs including career opportunities for individuals with impairments and transportation services for job searchers and those in need of health care.

Mercy Partnership Fund’s investments span 65 mission-driven organizations in all 50 states and 73 countries. Learn more about the impact of our investments.

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