The third Monday of January has become known as “Blue Monday”, because it supposedly represents the “most depressing day of the year”. The concept has previously come under fire, however, for trivialising mental illness, which affects people all year round.
Samaritans has transformed Blue Monday into Brew Monday - a campaign dedicated to preventing suicide and improving the nation’s mental health.
The campaign tells the nation “don’t let things stew, get together for a brew”, encouraging us to invite a friend, family member or colleague for a cuppa and have a chat.
The small act could make a big difference to someone’s wellbeing: research commissioned by Samaritans found eight out of 10 people believe getting together for tea and a talk makes them “feel better” about their day.
Life can be tough at any time of year and Brew Monday aims to get people talking, not just about tea, but about anything that may be bothering them.
Samaritans volunteers are giving out free tea bags at stations while McVitie’s has provided biscuits for some of the events. Meanwhile workplaces across the UK including Bank of England and PWC are staging Brew Monday tea and chat fundraising events.
The campaign has gained the support for a host of famous faces, including comedian Ross Noble, TV and radio broadcaster Yasmin Evans, poet Hussain Manawer, Libertines vocalist Carl Barât, Years & Years lead singer Olly Alexander and Olympic champion Audley Harrison.
Yasmin commented: “Having a cup of tea, and sitting across the table from someone, you just put all your walls down and get a little bit comfortable, you have a conversation and a chat.
“What is comforting is, you know that the conversation is going to last as long as that little mug, so there’s no pressure. You don’t have to stay longer than the brew.”
It also seems us Brits believe tea and talking is a great way to connect with other people.
Nine out of 10 of those who responded to the survey of more than 2,000 people believe having a cuppa and a chat with someone who may be lonely is a good way of reaching out to them.
What’s more, seven out of 10 people aged 18-24 say they would like more time to sit and chat, while eight out of 10 students in full time education believe people should talk over a drink more often during the day.
Commenting on the launch of the initiate, Samaritans CEO Ruth Sutherland said: “Challenging feelings aren’t seasonal and pressures can pile up over time and become overwhelming.
“Samaritans’ Brew Monday gives you the chance to sit down with someone and talk to them, or listen to them over a cup of tea, or coffee if you prefer.
“No matter what your brew, it’s great to get together and support each other. We’re grateful to everyone who’s making it a date to raise funds for Samaritans too, so that for people who feel they have nowhere else to turn, we can always be there.”
Find out more about Brew Monday and download a resource pack here.
Useful websites and helplines:
- Mind, open Monday to Friday, 9am-6pm on 0300 123 3393
- Samaritans offers a listening service which is open 24 hours a day, on 116 123 (UK and ROI - this number is FREE to call and will not appear on your phone bill.)
- Get Connected is a free advice service for people under 25. Call 0808 808 4994 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org