September 23, 2023

By Georgina Ogborn, BSc Psychology Graduate

photo of Georgina in graduation gown, throwing hat in the air

My third-year dissertation venture at Sussex was the fruits of my college research and an necessary step in direction of realising my ambition to work within the area of medical psychology. My venture investigated the subject of barbershops as a neighborhood setting to assist male psychological well being through the Covid-19 pandemic. This subject is necessary as a result of round one in eight males expertise psychological well being difficulties, but most don’t search assist and males are under-represented in psychological well being service referrals. Earlier analysis has proven that barbers can efficiently increase consciousness about circumstances equivalent to hypertension and prostate most cancers, constructing on the custom of barbershops as a supportive surroundings the place males can speak overtly about well being and private points. There may be now rising curiosity in situating psychological well being promotion and prevention actions in barbershops. Such community-based settings are significantly necessary within the context of disrupted psychological well being care provision and surging psychological well being issues through the Covid-19 pandemic. Therefore, my venture addressed three questions: how do barbers desire to have interaction with their male purchasers in relation to psychological well being points? Second, what psychological well being impacts have been noticed by barbers through the Covid-19 pandemic? And third, what’s the scope for offering formal psychological well being assist in barbershops?

I carried out my dissertation venture in a gaggle with three different Psychology undergraduates, working beneath the supervision of Dr Daniel Michelson, who’s a Scientific Psychologist and Senior Lecturer at Sussex. Within the first occasion, Daniel directed us in direction of background studying on neighborhood psychological well being approaches and offered suggestions on our deliberate analysis design and particular analysis questions. By working collectively, my fellow group members and I had been capable of pool efforts and determine and make contact with barbers remotely at a time when Covid-19 had disrupted ‘enterprise as typical’ for barbershops. In complete, we collected information from 30 barbers utilizing a web-based qualitative survey. In a second part of the venture, three of the survey respondents had been interviewed to confirm our findings and discover apply implications. An preliminary qualitative coding framework was developed collectively by our group and refined in supervision conferences with Daniel. We had been then individually accountable for finalising our personal thematic evaluation and write-up.

I totally loved studying the survey responses, interviewing barbers, and thematically analysing the info. The evaluation was an opportunity to discover lived experiences, mirror on their meanings and wider significance, and develop appropriate suggestions for additional analysis and apply. I used to be struck by the care and compassion that barbers expressed in direction of their purchasers, in addition to their openness with regards to their very own psychological well being. Certainly, a number of of the collaborating barbers talked about how that they had skilled despair and nervousness through the pandemic themselves.

The findings had been organised into three overarching themes. The primary, ‘greater than a haircut’, described how the bodily and relational contexts of barbershops can provide a supportive surroundings for purchasers. The second, ‘impacts of COVID-19’, described stressors associated to the pandemic and implications for purchasers’ psychological well being and barber-client relationships. The third, ‘formal psychological well being methods’, described alternatives for, and potential obstacles to, formalising psychological well being assist in barbershops. Barbers highlighted the difficulties confronted by purchasers, significantly the lack of social contacts – together with these afforded by means of customary visits for haircuts. Many barbers expressed their curiosity in receiving formal coaching to recognise psychological well being issues and ‘sign-post’ purchasers to acceptable providers. However, some members expressed concern about overstepping skilled boundaries, and probably impacting upon confidentiality. The feasibility of becoming formal psychological well being initiatives round office calls for was additionally questioned by some barbers. Future work is required to develop credible and resource-efficient initiatives that harness the flexibility of barbers to construct and maintain supportive relationships with males who might not in any other case have interaction with typical psychological well being providers. Extra typically, the research reaffirmed the worth of neighborhood property and social connections for selling constructive psychological well being and serving to folks to get better from episodes of psychological ill-health. 

After handing within the dissertation in Could 2021, I used to be actually happy when Daniel raised the potential for revising the dissertation report right into a journal paper. He defined how writing for publication differs in necessary methods from a dissertation venture, significantly when it comes to the necessity for concision and the method of educational peer overview. In the course of the summer season of 2021, I took lead in drafting and redrafting the paper. By the tip of January 2022, the manuscript was lastly able to be submitted to our chosen journal, BJPsych Open (the sister journal of the British Journal of Psychiatry) for peer overview. We obtained anonymised feedback from reviewers in March and submitted a revised draft in Could. By June, the paper was lastly accepted and printed on-line.

My expertise of the dissertation venture has enabled me to strengthen key analysis expertise, together with conducting evidence-based literature searches, gathering and critically analysing information, and drafting experiences. These expertise have been important for planning and finishing up audits and repair evaluations in my present job as a Senior Assistant Psychologist for Sussex Partnership NHS Basis Belief. My position entails creating the brand new ‘Complicated Emotional Difficulties Pathway’ for folks presenting with persona difficulties and sophisticated trauma. Wanting additional forward, I’m certain that the data and expertise developed by means of my dissertation will probably be of nice worth as I work in direction of my purpose of coaching as a Scientific Psychologist. I might encourage all third-year college students to see their dissertation venture as an incredible studying alternative, and in addition an expertise that may contribute on to your profession aspirations.

If you’re enthusiastic about discovering out extra about my expertise, please watch the video beneath.

Georgina Ogborn is a BSc Psychology graduate (Class of 2021) and at the moment works as a Senior Assistant Psychologist at Sussex Partnership NHS Basis Belief. Right here Georgina shares her expertise of conducting and publishing her undergraduate dissertation, and discusses the way it pertains to her profession aspirations. Click on beneath to observe a brief video produced by Georgina:

The paper talked about on this weblog is offered by means of the quotation beneath:

Ogborn, G., Bowden-Howe, C., Burd, P., Kleijn, M., & Michelson, D. (2022). Barbershops as a setting for supporting males’s psychological well being through the COVID-19 pandemic: A qualitative research from the UK. BJPsych Open, 8(4), E118. doi:10.1192/bjo.2022.520