BARBER Jimmy Morrison often has clients share their life stories in his chair and he listens while he works.
Mr Morrison wanted a way to help men talk more, so teaming with headspace Ballarat and Zambrero Ballarat, he is opening his doors for evening sessions to create a social hub.
Arms and Armour is a chance for young men, aged 18 to 25, to talk about what it means to be a male in today’s society.
Each session will open in a short sit-down presentation from a guest speaker before an informal chat over dinner and complimentary Musket and Bayonet barber service.
There'll be a bit of banter. We just talk and draw on our experience a bit.Musket and Bayonet owner Jimmy Morrison
“There’ll be a bit on banter,” Mr Morrison said. “We just talk and draw on our experience a bit.”
Arms and Armour coordinator Andy Penny, from headspace, said the program offered support for young dads, or new guys in town, or just guys feeling a bit lost.
One in four young people, aged 16-25, experience mental health concerns with more than nine per cent of adult males (18-24) experiencing anxiety and more than four per cent feeling depression in the last 12 months.
Mr Penny said stigma often prevented men from talking about mental health and they wanted to break this down in a safe place where guys could connect with mates.
He said the most amazing part was the generosity in time of all involved to make this work in between their crazy business schedules.
Zambrero Ballarat owner Mal Douglas communication was really important and why he felt compelled to get involved in the program.
“There was a lack of something similar to this when I was growing up,” Mr Douglas said.
“When I was in that age bracket, anyone who had created that would’ve been great.”
Arms and Armour will run nine fortnightly sessions based on topics like positive engagement, parenting skills, gender equity and male identity.
All guest speakers will be invited back for the final evaluation session and celebration with participants.
The guys behind the program hoped some of the connections participants made with each other would stick in long-term support.
Arms and Armour starts on July 5 with sessions running at Musket and Bayonet each Wednesday fortnight from 7-8.30pm.
Applications are open for young men wanting to get involved in Arms and Armour.
To apply, go online at headspace Ballarat via the services link and click to make a referral option; or by phoning headspace Ballarat on 5304 4777.