Beauty and barber shops are staples in the African-American community and the relationship between stylist/barber and their clientele is very valuable. The time spent in the chair is not just about hair, it's also about decompressing from the week, self-care, and taking a break from life's stresses. The salon and shop is a safe space to laugh, cry, vent, connect, seek advice and everything in between.
The goal of Shear Balance is to acknowledge the pseudotheapeutic role stylists and barbers play for their clients and to equip them with knowledge and skills to better support their clients that may be experiencing mental distress. My idea is to train salon and shop staff in Mental Health First Aid. Mental Health First Aid is an internationally recognized training that teaches individuals how to identify, understand and respond to mental health disorders and teaches skills on how to provide initial help and support during a crisis. The hope is to help enhance skills that stylists and barbers already possess to not only start a dialogue about mental health but also be able to assist someone in distress and identify community mental health resources.
WELL CITY CHALLENGE
Shear Balance was pitched during the Well City Pitch Competition presented by Independence Blue Cross and The Economy League. Over 4 weeks, Heart to Heal founder, Mckenzie, worked with The Economy League and mentor, Carniesha Kwashie, to develop the idea and prepare a 3 minute pitch during the Well City live virtual pitch competition. Out of 5 teams in the Mind and Body category, Shear Balance was voted the judge's choice and not only won a $10k prize but moved on to an accelerator program to continue to develop and pilot the program.