Gamilaroi man and walkabout barber Brian Dowd has offered mental health advice alongside free haircuts to many in need this week.
Residents in Gunnedah, Werris Creek, Quirindi and Curlewis have all received visits from Walkabout Barber Enterprises and Gunida Gunyah Aboriginal Corporation to hear Mr Dowd's story and take in his trauma and recovery presentation.
Mr Dowd said it was great that he had the opportunity as a Gamilaroi man to "come out on my own country and help my own people and do a bit of healing in the process".
"I talk to people about where I come from; I was bankrupt at a young age, and I tried to take my own life at 27. I'm 46 now and I'm not a survivor, I'm a thriver because I'e changed a lot of stuff in my journey," Mr Dowd said.
"I share tools and techniques and give people tips on how they can actually make some changes in their life and if I've got something in my possession like a tool or a technique that can help somebody then I want to share it with as many people as I can.
"I'm just as real as the person next to me and I want to let people know that no one is perfect in this world and we all make mistakes and it's how you come back from that."
Gunida Gunyah's programs coordinator Ashley Bender said the four events were great for the shire's residents.
"It's bringing everyone, whether they're Aboriginal or not, together to discuss mental health during the drought," Ms Bender said.
Mr Dowd has a post-graduate degree in trauma and recovery, and is currently teaching his other barbers how to give advice to anyone who may need it while sitting in the barber's chair.
"We can give them professional advice there and then, and then we can also refer on from then as well," he said.
"I'm training the barbers to have initial response techniques, but if someone comes in and is suicidal I can come in and take that conversation a little bit further, a bit more one-on-one."
The visits were funded through an Empowering our Communities grant from the Hunter New England Central Coast Primary Health Network, which covered a free barbecue lunch, face painting, haircuts, and a jumping castle for all four local communities to enjoy.
Walkabout Barber is a mobile trailer business which outreaches to communities across NSW and beyond.
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