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TCPA teaches barbers to listen, direct clients in need to mental health services

Updated: Aug 7, 2023

There’s something about a barber chair or hairdresser’s chair that seems to be a safe place for clients to open up and talk about their problems, and now the person with the clippers has resources to offer their customers.

“Mental health is a major issue,” said Craig Charles, a local barber and barber school owner. “Sometimes we don’t realize what people go through. A lot of times in the African American society, suicide is the fourth-leading cause of death.”

Charles, who owns Craig’s Crown Cutz and Crown Cutz Academy, recently received training in the Confess Project and became an ambassador for the state of Tennessee.

He learned about the Confess Project from a friend, Lorenzo Lewis, who founded the program. Lewis was in Johnson City recently for a seminar and training for local barbers, Charles said.

“It’s dedicated to helping boys and men find mental health health resources and services using barbering as a platform,” he said.

Charles is quick to say that barbers who get trained in the Confess Project’s techniques are not therapists. The training is so barbers can direct customers to community resources if they need assistance with any mental health issues.”

As active listeners and advocates, the coalition of barbers will pass along the Suicide Prevention Hotline number if deemed necessary to clients.

“We’re not clinicians. It’s more about teaching barbers how to talk to their clients and recognize certain cues.

“We’re advocates to give them a resource,” he said. “We’re a segue to therapists and psychiatrists,” Charles said. “We do training for that to identify certain things so they can direct (clients) to help.”

“Barbers are a pillar of the community,” Charles said. “You have certain conversations with customers ... when we realize the conversation is going a certain way, we can give them resources,” to get help.

“I have personal relationships with my clients and we have confidential conversations all the time,” Charles said.

For more information, contact Charles at his barber shop or visit

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