In a bid to power through the cold winter months, Scotland’s Railway has joined Samaritans to encourage rail users, including key workers and rail staff, to share a cuppa and a catch up with someone they care about during Brew Monday.
Whilst the third Monday in January is sometimes referred to as ‘the most difficult day of the year’, the charity is highlighting that there’s no such thing as ‘Blue Monday’ since people can feel a range of emotions any day of the year. 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 people who contact them. The main concerns include mental health and illness (46%), family (34%) and loneliness (28%)*.
So, to ensure nobody struggles alone, on Brew Monday or any other day, Samaritans and Scotland’s Railway are reminding everyone to check in on friends, family or colleagues. It doesn’t need to be a Monday or a cup of tea, it’s about connecting and really listening to each other.
Rail staff will hold virtual Brew events to check in on their colleagues, friends and family members to stay connected this winter. They’ll also be spreading the Brew Monday message to those travelling through digital station screens.
Samaritans has also come together with artists experiencing 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 in these uncertain times, 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 rail station digital screens from 17 January.
Liam Sumpter, route director, Scotland’s Railway, said:
"We’re supporting the Samaritans’ Brew Monday campaign again this year as we know how important it is to encourage the public, our passengers and our workforce to recognise the power of human connection.
"Starting a conversation can save a life, and we’re asking everyone to grab a brew and start a conversation!
"The Samaritans partnership with Scotland’s Railway has been in place for over a decade and we’re committed to working closely in the coming years."
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 comes as part of the rail industry’s suicide prevention programme and partnership with Network Rail. Samaritans has worked in partnership with the rail industry and British Transport Police 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 be vulnerable.
Notes to Editors
*From December 2020 – November 2021, 46% of contacts that reached out to Samaritans for emotional support mentioned mental health and illness, 34% mentioned family and 28% mentioned loneliness as a concern.
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Samaritans has worked in partnership with Network Rail and the wider rail industry since 2010 to reduce suicides on the railway and support those affected by them. Samaritans has trained over 24,000 rail and BTP staff in suicide prevention and runs awareness campaigns to encourage the public