This central Alta. barber is using mullets as a mental health conversation starter
A mullet haircut may not be for everyone, but the Canadian Mental Health Association hopes in central Alberta it means having a meaningful conversation about mental health.
John Lecuyer had been battling depression and alcohol addiction for years. Last November, he decided he couldn't take it anymore and grabbed a gun.
"I shot myself in front of my wife," he said. "It was horrible. I put her through hell for that."
Lecuyer spent a month in the hospital and while he was recovering he decided he wanted to talk about his own battle with mental health, so other men would not feel alone.
"I would never share anything close, but now I feel like I've got to spread the word because I don't want anybody to ever do this, to ever go through this."
Lecuyer first shared his story with his barber Jeremy Deleeuw. Deleeuw said it left a lasting impact on his life.
"I haven't been doing this very long, and the stories that you hear are pretty unreal at times," said Deleeuw.
Now men from central Alberta are coming to Mullets Barber Shop to talk, and to get a very specific haircut.
"I kind of forget it's there until people look at you," laughed Kevin Webber, a client of Deleeuw. "At work I'll get a couple thumbs up."
He's taking part in the Mullets for Mental Health Campaign. The 'business in the front, party in the back' hairstyle is serving as a signal that it's okay for men to talk about the mental health issues they're facing.
"It's definitely getting to a point where people need to be more aware and make it more acceptable in society to be able to ask for help and get it," said Webber.
Participants are encouraged to create their own custom fundraising pages and share them on social media. Money raised will go towards the central Alberta Canadian Mental Health Association.
"Four out of five completed suicides are male, so we really wanted to come up with a campaign that it's okay to reach out," said Sephanie Portingale, from central Alberta CMHA.
The next time you see someone rocking the retro style, Lecuyer hopes it serves as a reminder to start a conversation with the men in your life.
"As a guy, it's hard to share that stuff," he said. "You're supposed to be tough and deal with everything and whatever, but that's not the case. You['ve] got to be able to speak up and seek out when you need it."
With files from CTV News Edmonton's Nav Sangha
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