Bluemind Foundation and Heal By Hair: New York Times Recognizes Mental Health Innovation

Douala, Lomé, Abidjan and Paris, 5 December 2023 -/African Media Agency (AMA)/- The Bluemind Foundation proudly announces that its Heal By Hair program has received global recognition for its innovative approach to mental health. Lauded by an article in The New York Times, the program trains African hairdressers to become mental health ambassadors, turning hair salons into spaces of emotional support. Through a three-day course, hairdressers learn active listening and how to identify signs of distress, providing invaluable aid in regions where access to psychological care is severely limited.

A Visionary Founder and a Community-Based Solution

Motivated by her own experiences and the lack of mental health resources, Marie-Alix de Putter, President and Founder of the Bluemind Foundation and her team, initiated Heal By Hair to address an urgent issue: the low rate of access to mental health care in Africa. The program captures values of listening and support in everyday salon interactions, a communal space where women traditionally spend time. Already, over 150 hairdressers have been trained in countries like Togo, Ivory Coast, and Cameroon, with plans to expand the training to Ghana, Rwanda, and Senegal.

Impact and Call to Action

The New York Times article highlights the significant impact of Heal By Hair, as demonstrated by the experience of Joseline de Lima in Togo, where mental health services are scarce. The training empowers hairdressers to offer an initial level of psychological support and to refer cases needing professional assistance. As the foundation works towards raising awareness and destigmatizing mental health, it calls upon institutions, donors, and potential partners to support and engage in this movement, to enhance the resilience of African communities. Join us in expanding this life-saving initiative and ensuring that mental health becomes a widely accessible priority. Your commitment can transform the lives of thousands in Africa, making the hair salon a new cornerstone of mental health support.

Distributed by African Media Agency on behalf of Bluemind Foundation.


Heal by Hair is a groundbreaking short and innovative three (3) day training program, based on the basic principles of active listening and mental health. By transforming hair salons into mental health hubs, the ultimate goal of the Heal by Hair program is to improve the mental health and well-being of African women through the hairdresser’s chair, one customer at a time. By 2035, Bluemind Foundation aims to train 1,000 hairdressers in 20 African cities, and to help improve the mental health of 2,000,000 African women.


Bluemind Foundation is an international non-governmental organization chaired by Marie-Alix de Putter, who founded it in July 2021 following the murder of her husband and her personal experience of post-traumatic stress, chronic depression and anxiety. Our constant message is based on a strong conviction: mental health is health. With the ambition of making mental health a social, cultural and political issue, the Bluemind Foundation’s mission is to destigmatize mental health and make care accessible to all.

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