Gary “Trey” Taylor encourages men to understand the connection between their minds and bodies.
Gary Taylor sat in a barber’s chair for more than an hour Monday night, but instead of getting his hair cut, he mentioned a different kind of weight men need to get off their shoulders.
The licensed clinical social worker, who goes by “Trey,” talked about how what’s happening with the mind can impact conditions in the body. He leads a similar session at his private practice in Caroline County, where he focuses on erasing the stigma of discussing mental health issues in the Black community, particularly among men.
Taylor partnered with the Rappahannock Area Community Services Board—where he once worked in crisis therapy—to share the message at the Gentlemen’s Club Barbershop at Spotsylvania Courthouse. About a dozen barbers and their friends sat in the brightly lit shop, listening intently to Taylor, who described his own struggle with acute stress that led to chest pains and the fear he was having a heart attack.
“I believe the stress that we endure over time affects us physically, but also mentally, too,” Taylor said. “For one, we don’t talk about it. Two, we don’t know how to talk about it and three, we might be scared to even say something’s going on.”