January 21st, 2023, marked Lines for Life’s first annual Barbershop Conversation in partnership with Kingdom Kuts.
Kingdom Kuts, a local barbershop in Portland, Oregon, was packed with people from Portland’s Black and Brown communities to talk about the importance of community and receiving support for mental health. Folks who attended the Barbershop Conversation were provided with free blood pressure checks from NxNE, as well as free food and music provided by DJ and Cultural Advocate at Lines for Life, Bretto “Michael” Jackson.
Lines for Life was joined by Pastor Shon Neyland, elders from Highland Christian Center, and NxNE’s Dr. Gina Guillaume. We were honored to have Dr. Guillaume speak on the trauma affecting people of color and why it’s important to seek help for mental and physical health. Darryl Turpin, Lines for Life’s Director of Equity and Engagement, also spoke on the impacts of stigma around mental health in the Black and Brown communities, emphasizing that someone seeking support while experiencing a mental health crisis should receive the same level of understanding as someone seeking support for a broken bone.
Kingdom Kuts is a safe space for community members to go for support. To emphasize this purpose, the barbers at Kingdom Kuts were trained in Mental Health First Aid, an interactive eight-hour community education program offered by Lines for Life that teaches participants how to identify, understand, and respond to indicators of mental illness and substance abuse. Lines for Life was proud to award LaRue Brown, owner of Kingdom Kuts, a plaque dedicated to the honor of being a safe space for community members to talk about their mental health.
We look forward to partnering with Kingdom Kuts to host more Barbershop Conversations in the continued effort to provide culturally responsive mental health support that addresses the issues directly affecting communities of color.