Beat the January Blues
National Treasurer Dame Julie Walters joins faces from television, comedy and talented artists across the UK to encourage people to have a cup of tea and a chat with someone they care about to Samaritans Brew Monday.
‘Blue Monday’ (today) has been wrongly labeled ‘the hardest day of the year’, but the leading suicide prevention charity says feeling down can happen on any day of the year.
In a bid to boost the nation’s morale as the uncertainties of the pandemic continue, the Samaritans are encouraging people to listen to loved ones over a cup of tea.
Although winter is considered one of the most difficult seasons, with dark days and freezing nights, Samaritan volunteers hear similar concerns throughout the year from those who contact the charity. The main concerns are mental health and illness (46%), family (34%) and loneliness (28%).
To mark Brew Monday, Julie Walters, Keith Lemon, comedian James Acaster and EastEnders actor Stevie Basaula feature in a sketch tearing up the fictional day and instead inviting people to connect with someone around a cup of tea and a conversation, any day of the week.
Samaritans Ambassador Dame Julie Walters thinks people can really make a difference in someone’s day just by asking if they’re okay.
She said: “People go through a range of emotions throughout the year, so the idea of ever feeling blue is a load of rubbish. I’ve had my fair share of blue days and found solace talking to loved ones over a cup of tea.
“It’s a simple action that can go a long way, especially now that so many people continue to feel isolated and alone.
“It doesn’t have to be Monday or a cup of tea, connecting with someone anytime of the year shows them you’re there and ready to listen.”
Talented artists linked to Samaritans who have experience with mental health issues have also lent their brushes and pencils creating all-new uplifting illustrations that share a message of connection with others while catching up.
The artwork of British Got Talent contestant and culinary artist Nathan Wyburn, former volunteer and illustrator and author James Norbury, and contemporary well-being artist Emelie Hryhoruk, who called on the Samaritans for help Help in the Past will be featured on digital screens at Network Rail stations to inspire passengers from today, 17 January.
James Norbury, a former Samaritans volunteer who recently published his first illustrated book Big Panda & Tiny Dragon, shares some of the insights that have helped him through difficult times: “Having struggled with intrusive thoughts for years, I felt the pain and sadness that many callers experience.
“Talking can help you feel less alone and bring the issues sitting in the back of your head in the dark, into the light. Things can often feel a lot more tangible, rather than a horrible confusing mess. Talking of what you feel is a super tonic.
Hundreds of Samaritan volunteers will be at their local train stations across the UK throughout January, supporting key workers and those traveling, providing teabags and advice on how to be a better listener .
Julie Bentley, CEO of Samaritans, said: “We are very grateful to the rail industry for their support of Brew Monday again this year.
“Throughout the various shutdowns and restrictions, the pandemic has shown us that staying connected to others has been a vital part of helping people through difficult times.
We know the impact talking and listening can have, and a cup of tea and a conversation won’t solve everything, but it can be a start. You don’t need to have all the answers or solutions, you just need to listen and start a conversation that might just be the support someone needs.
Network Rail’s Brew Monday support is part of the rail industry’s suicide prevention programme.
Samaritans has worked in partnership with the rail company, on behalf of the rail industry, to reduce suicides on the rail for over a decade, having trained over 24,000 railway and UK police workers transport to watch over passengers and to make small talk if they feel someone might need help.
Find out more head to samaritans.org/brewmonday or join the conversation on social media using #BrewMonday and why not donate while you’re at it, you could help save a life.