Fulfilling the Mission of Brothers in Arms

Our mission at Brothers in Arms is to transform male mental health

 

The Blethr project is a significant step forward in Brothers in Arms' mission to reduce male suicide. Merging innovative technology with psychological concepts offers a unique approach to improving men's mental well-being, designed specifically with men in mind and designed to bridge, not replace the gap left by traditional therapy options which may not resonate with all males or because of lack of access due to long waiting times or cutbacks in funding.

 

The platform provides safe spaces where you can talk freely and openly about what's on your mind without fear of being judged or told what you should do


As a curious technology, it seeks to understand and help through questions rather than accessing a simple library of answers

 

People may want to describe Blethr as a ChatBot, we prefer Conversationer.

 

Brothers in Arms is committed to promoting mental well-being and has invested in a groundbreaking initiative: The Blethr Platform. This provides a safe, non-judgmental space for men to freely express themselves.

 

A New Approach to Men’s Mental Health

 

An innovative platform that uses conversational technology combined with principles of psychology to create a user-friendly conversation and listening space. Unlike conventional methods that often pressure individuals into sharing their feelings without providing an appropriate environment or listener, our aim is: "What if we gave men a safe space where they could talk freely without fear of judgment?" and so The Blethr Platform is available here

 

Why Invest in The Blethr project?

 

The decision by Brothers in Arms to support this project is rooted in the acknowledgement of the rising prevalence of poor mental health among men and recognition of the scarcity of accessible resources. The charity understands that too many reactive solutions focus on symptomatic relief rather than addressing root causes.

 

The Concept Behind The Platform

 

The project is driven by two key psychological concepts: "What Happens Inside Happens Outside: A Human Sense-Making Framework" and "Human Nature for Human Beings: A Human Sense-Making Process," research carried out and published by psychologist Ian McLaren Wallace who with developer Neil Fogarty combined these concepts with advanced technology to offer support based on individual needs - making each interaction personalised and effective, and over the last three years worked with Dan Proverbs, founder of BIA to help them develop a framework where the concept would apply to men.

 

User-centered Therapy & Clean Language

 

Incorporating user-centered therapy or person-centered therapy principles allows users to take control over their therapeutic journey. By utilising Clean Language, a recognised therapeutic approach, users are encouraged to express themselves freely without fear of judgment or misunderstanding.

 

Confidentiality and Availability

 

One of the unique points of the platform is its availability around the clock which is available 24/7, providing flexibility that traditional therapy often lacks. Confidentiality is also crucial; all conversations are kept secure and private, enabling users to open up without apprehension.

 

The Road Ahead

 

The project's potential for scalability is vast. Though its journey begins in Scotland, the vision extends well beyond borders and we want to make the technology available to other charities as cost-effectively as possible. Brothers in Arms is currently fundraising for the next updates to the Blethr platform, including a front-end login for users to each have their individual space - and to build an anonymized data layer so we can work on crisis anticipation instead of crisis intervention as a more proactive method of reducing the high rate of male suicide, something that is now a global issue.

 

This investment by Brothers in Arms into the project reflects their commitment to acknowledging and actively addressing men's mental health issues with innovative solutions. By providing men with a safe space where they can talk freely about their feelings without fear of judgment or backlash, Brothers in Arms continues to lead by example in championing men's mental health.

Shearing Stigmas: The Barber Project's Innovative Approach to Men's Mental Health

For many men, a trip to the barbershop represents more than just a routine grooming necessity. It's a space of comfort, camaraderie, and at times, candid conversations. Recognizing the unique potential of this setting is at the heart of an innovative initiative - The Barber Project.

 

The project, born from a collaborative effort between Brothers in Arms charity, Scottish Violence Reduction Unit (SVRU), and Glasgow-based barber shop Rebel Rebel, is an attempt to harness the power of these intimate exchanges in Barbershops and Salons for positive mental health outcomes.

 

The premise behind this project is simple yet profound: equip barbers with skills and knowledge that enable them to foster conversations about mental health with their male clientele. By doing so, it aims to break down barriers that often prevent men from opening up about their struggles.

 

Studies have shown that men are less likely than women to seek help for mental health issues due largely to societal expectations and stigmas surrounding masculinity. The stark reality associated with this reluctance has devastating consequences: suicide rates among men are alarmingly high across many nations.

 

A Fresh Approach

 

The Barber Project seeks to change this narrative by training barbers on how they can encourage their customers into starting dialogues about their emotional wellbeing. Following initial success at Rebel Rebel's salon earlier this year where 12 local Barbers were trained; Glasgow Clyde College has now incorporated these workshops into its hairstyling curriculum.

 

Making A Difference

 

The workshop provides participants not only with tools for facilitating sensitive discussions but also guidance on how they can respond when someone discloses experiences related to mental health or suicide. It doesn't aim for them to become therapists; rather it arms them with the empathy and understanding to act as supportive listeners.

 

Encouragingly, the early feedback from these training sessions has been overwhelmingly positive. Students have reported feeling more confident in handling such conversations, and importantly, they are motivated to help.

 

Reaching Out By Reaching In

 

This project represents a shift in how we think about mental health outreach towards men. Rather than waiting for individuals to reach out for help - often a significant barrier - it's about reaching in proactively. It acknowledges the need for everyone to play their part in supporting each other's mental health.

 

Through its approach, The Barber Project is not just providing haircuts but potentially life-saving conversations. It's a testament to what can be achieved when we look beyond traditional methods of addressing mental health and instead focus on strategies embedded within communities themselves.

 

The Future

 

The next steps for The Barber Project involve reaching other professionals who have regular contact with men such as personal trainers, sports coaches and those within the corporate workforce This expansion aims to further increase the number of people skilled at initiating these critical discussions around male mental health issues.

 

In its essence, The Barber Project is an embodiment of empathy at work – a reminder that sometimes all it takes is one conversation to make a difference.

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