The Heath barber Odin Swann helps his customers cut through mental health and depression issues
A barber at The Heath Leisure Suite is helping men with depression or mental health issues through one-one-one chats as they sit in his chair.
Odin Swann, who runs Odins Barbers at The Heath Business and Technical Park in Runcorn, has just one chair in his shop which means he has time to focus on one customer at a time and engage them in meaningful conversation, allowing them to open up about any issues or problems they may be facing.
Odin told his local newspaper: "It's a very small barbers shop. I have chosen it to be like this for a very good reason - one-on-one, no interruptions chat. I want people to know that it is a safe zone for people to come in and have a chat or just chill and play the X-box."
After being left homeless six months ago following the breakdown of a relationship, Odin found solace by going into the gym at The Heath Leisure Suite where he met Fitness Manager Mark McGrath. Says Odin: "I was doing some mobile barbering when I was homeless, and Mark suggested I should open my own shop in a room at the Leisure Suite and its been really successful.
Odin undertook five months' training and completed his Lions Barber Collection online which enables him to identify mental health problems. His customers mainly come from the gym and businesses located at The Heath.
As I have just the one chair it gives me the chance to have some meaningful conversations with my customers. If they confide in me that they have mental health issues or depression, I listen and try to help by referring them to local organisations who can offer support. I wasnt in a good place myself, but I do know that you can turn things around if you have some help and support. Meeting Mark at the Leisure Suite inspired me to open my shop and Im now qualified to recognise and refer people to the relevant services should they need it.
Lesley Banks, Sales and Marketing Manager at The Heath, says: The Heath is much more than a business park, it is a focal point for the local community and we encourage people to come and use all of our facilities, such as Heath Leisure Suite, Café at The Heath and our function rooms which are available for business and private hire. We are acutely aware about issues such as mental health, depression and loneliness and we stage lots of events giving people the opportunity to meet and talk to each other. Odins barbers shop is a fantastic idea and an important contribution to our community initiatives.
If you would like to have a chat with Odin call into his shop at the Heath Leisure Suite or call him on 07493 019428.
About The Heath
The Heath Business and Technical Park is a phenomenal regeneration success story. Formed in 2000, its owner and operator, SOG Ltd, has transformed a once single occupancy corporate facility into a thriving independent business park. The Heath now provides office and laboratory accommodation for more than 120 individual organisations, ranging from business services and IT specialists to those at the cutting edge of science, research and advanced manufacturing. Around 2,000 people are employed at the site. For further information, telephone 01928 515988 or visit www.theheath.com
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PAUL SMITH ASSOCIATES
5th March 2020