Beat January blues
National treasure Dame Julie Walters joins faces from TV, comedy, and talented artists across the UK to encourage people to have a cuppa and a chat with someone they care about for Samaritans Brew Monday.
‘Blue Monday’ (today) has erroneously been labelled ‘the most difficult day of the year’, but the leading suicide prevention charity says feeling low can happen on any day of the year.
In a bid to uplift the nation as pandemic uncertainties continue, Samaritans is encouraging people to lend an ear to loved ones over a cuppa.
Although winter is thought to be one of the harder seasons, with dark days and frosty nights, Samaritans volunteers hear similar concerns all year round from those that contact the charity. The main concerns include mental health and illness (46 per cent), family (34 per cent) and loneliness (28 per cent).
To mark Brew Monday, Julie Walters, Keith Lemon, comedian James Acaster and EastEnders actor Stevie Basaula feature in a sketch ripping apart the fictional day and instead inviting people to connect with someone over a cuppa and a chat, any day of the week.
Samaritans Ambassador Dame Julie Walters thinks people can really make a difference to someone’s day just by asking if they are OK.
She said: “People go through a range of emotions throughout the year so the idea of feeling blue on one day is a load of rubbish. I’ve had my fair share of blue days and have found solace in speaking to loved ones over a cuppa.
“It is a simple action that can go a long way, particularly now when so many people continue to feel isolated and lonely.
"It doesn’t have to be Monday, or a cuppa, connecting with someone at any time during the year shows them you are there and ready to listen.”
Talented artists connected to Samaritans who have experience of mental health struggles have also lent their paintbrushes and pencils by creating brand new uplifting illustrations that share a message of connection with others over a catch up.
Artwork from Britain’s Got Talent contestant and food artist Nathan Wyburn, former volunteer and illustrator and author James Norbury, and contemporary wellbeing artist Emelie Hryhoruk, who has called Samaritans for support in the past, will be shown on digital screens across Network Rail stations to inspire passengers from today, January 17.
James Norbury, a former Samaritans volunteer who recently published his first illustrated book Big Panda & Tiny Dragon, shares some of the ideas that helped him through difficult times: “Having struggled with intrusive thoughts for years, I’ve felt the pain and sadness that many callers experience.
"Talking can help you feel less alone and bring the problems sitting at the back of your head in the shadowy darkness, into the light. Things can often feel much more tangible, rather than a confusing awful mess. Talking about how you feel is a great tonic.”
Hundreds of Samaritans volunteers will be out at their local train stations across the UK throughout January, supporting key workers and those who are travelling, providing tea bags and tips on how to be a better listener.
Julie Bentley, Samaritans’ CEO said: “We’re so grateful to the rail industry for their support of Brew Monday again this year.
"Throughout the various lockdowns and restrictions, the pandemic has shown us that staying connected with others has been a vital part of getting people through difficult times.
We know the impact talking and listening can have, and a cup of tea and a chat won’t solve everything, but it can be a start. You don’t have to have all the answers or solutions, you just need to listen and start a conversation which could just be the support that someone needs.”
The Brew Monday support from Network Rail comes as 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 railway for over ten years, having trained over 24,000 rail and British Transport Police staff to look out for passengers and make conversation if they feel someone might need help.
To give you an idea - one of the time timelapses is here - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ff5vtoL562g&authuser=0
The celeb video here - There’s always time for a cuppa and a catch-up - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qw7AOiLKXMU&authuser=0