Samaritans is calling on rail passengers to forget so-called Blue Monday and make time for a cuppa and a chat with someone they care about for the charity’s alternative ‘Brew Monday’, supported by Network Rail and the wider rail industry.
While the third Monday in January is supposedly the most difficult day of the year, Samaritans volunteers know that people can find themselves struggling at any time. Year round, the main concerns that volunteers hear from those that contact the charity include mental health and illness (46%), family (34%) and loneliness (28%).
After last year’s Brew Monday campaign turned virtual due to pandemic restrictions, Samaritans volunteers are now making their return to station events across Britain to show their support for those using the rail network, including our vital key workers and rail staff, and highlighting the importance of reaching out to talk.
Launching at London Waterloo station today, Samaritans volunteers will be on hand providing tea bags and tips on how to be a better listener. The charity and Network Rail have also come together with artists with their own mental health challenges to create inspiring artwork depicting the power of connection, drawn from their own experiences.
In a bid to uplift and inspire rail users as pandemic uncertainties continue, artwork by Britain’s Got Talent contestant and food artist Nathan Wyburn, former volunteer, illustrator and author James Norbury, and contemporary wellbeing artist Emelie Hryhoruk, who has called Samaritans for support in the past, will be featured on digital screens across Network Rail stations from today, 17 January.
“We’re so grateful to the rail industry for their support of Brew Monday again this year,” said Julie Bentley, Samaritans’ CEO. “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.”
Andrew Haines, Network Rail chief executive, said: “Looking after our passengers and staff is so important to our railway family and I know there is more we can all do to help those in crisis. Every one of us has the skills to help someone in need and Brew Monday is a powerful reminder of the simple steps we can take. I am really pleased we are once again able to join Samaritans in our stations to reach out to commuters and those who may be struggling with their mental health.”
The Brew Monday support comes as part of the rail industry’s suicide prevention programme. Samaritans has worked in partnership with Network Rail, on behalf of the rail industry, to reduce suicides on the railway for over 10 years, having trained over 24,000 rail and BTP staff to look out for passengers and make conversation if they feel someone might need help.
Image credits: Samaritans / Emelie Hryhoruk