Orange County therapist trains barbers to be mental health advocates for clients

Stay Groomed Company owner Patrick McCoy, psychotherapist Pernell Bush will hold a training session on March 12

ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. – After one mental health counselor saw the need for more resources, and how long it can take to get them, he decided to start thinking outside of the box by training barbers, nail techs and massage therapists on how to be mental health advocates for their clients.

Stay Groomed Company owner Patrick McCoy and psychotherapist Pernell Bush both agree it’s a special relationship between barbers and their clients.

“You know, we give haircuts for marriage, graduation, baby being born, proposals,” McCoy said. “‘I got to get this job, got this interview and etc.’ So, you get to know a lot about people doing this job, you know?”

Bush and his organization, No Limit, are training barbers, along with nail technicians and massage therapists, to be mental health advocates. Bush said the training won’t make you a licensed counselor, but it’ll give you the skill set to listen and assess people’s potential mental health challenges.

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“So, our barbers are trained on what we call our BOLO, so be on the lookout,” Bush said. “So, you learn about signs and symptoms of some of the most common mental health diagnoses. So, they might be like, you know, where some of the things you’re talking about, it’s not like you may have this, but I’m not professional, but I think you may want to go talk to one.”

As a mental health professional, Bush recognizes how hard it can be to know where to start when looking for services. He hopes this training will empower community members to help people find the resources they need.

“I talk to my barber a lot and they already naturally do these things,” Bush said. “They listen nonjudgmentally. They already know how to give you unbiased information and resources. So, a lot of things they are doing very naturally, which is empowering them to do it more within the community and most importantly, be able to appoint their community members in a direction of resources in the community that could possibly assist them even further.”

No Limit will hold another training this Sunday, March 12, at Stay Groomed Company on Kirkman Road.

McCoy is already a certified mental health advocate through No Limit and said it’s empowering being able to help people with their mental wellness.

“What we look forward to and we both agree to this, is to see each person, one by one, become effective in a positive way, to be impacted, and that every barber and stylist is equipped to be able to provide more resources to their clients,” McCoy said.

The training takes place at Stay Groomed from 2-4 p.m. For more information and to register, click here.

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Emily joined WKMG-TV in November 2022.