Brew Monday: Rail passengers encouraged to have a chat and a cuppa

Rail travellers in Cumbria and the south of Scotland are being encouraged to make time to talk on what has been described as the most depressing day of the year.

The Samaritans’ have teamed up with PG tips for Brew Monday - a new campaign which hopes to spark conversations between family, friends and colleagues by handing out cups of tea and coffee.

More than 150 events will be running at railway stations across Britain, to turn the day - known as Blue Monday - into something positive.

Rachel Cackett, Executive Director of Samaritans Scotland, said: “As these figures show, loneliness is something that can affect us all, at any stage in our lives. But many of us may find it difficult to talk about, even with our family and friends.

At Samaritans we know the power of taking time to talk and to listen and Brew Monday is an important reminder that we can all play a part in this.

Through simple, everyday actions, like making a time for a cuppa and a chat with a family member, friend or co-worker, we can re-connect with the people around us, encourage one another to talk openly when we’re going through a difficult time, and send a message that you don’t have to face things alone.”

Actress Dame Julie Walters, who is supporting the campaign, said: “I believe we need to listen, notice and talk to people.

“It isn’t a problem to talk about how you are feeling, and things won’t get out of control, if anything it will dissipate.

“It’s about not being afraid to approach somebody and noticing what’s happening around you.”

Industry figures show nearly 2,000 lifesaving interventions were carried out by rail staff, police and members of the public on the network last year.

Rail Minister Chris Heaton-Harris said: “With funding from Network Rail, Samaritans has trained more than 20,000 railway employees in prevention techniques.

“This is a tremendous achievement but we must not stop there.

“Passengers too can help. Offering a friendly conversation, an opportunity to chat, might be all the difference between suicide and being saved.”

Help lines:

  • Samaritans have a free 24-hour support line on 116 123.

  • CALM - Campaign Against Living Miserably, for men aged 15 to 35: 0800 58 58 58 (daily, 5pm to midnight)

  • Mind promotes the views and needs of people with mental health problems: 0300 123 3393 (Mon to Fri, 9am to 6pm)

  • PAPYRUS - Young suicide prevention society. HOPELINEUK: 0800 068 4141 (Mon to Fri,10am to 5pm & 7 to 10pm. Weekends 2 to 5pm)

  • NSPCC - Children's charity dedicated to ending child abuse and child cruelty: 0800 1111 for Childline for children (24-hour helpline) 0808 800 5000 for adults concerned about a child (24-hour helpline)

  • Mencap Charity : working with people with a learning disability, their families and carers: 0808 808 1111 (Mon to Fri, 9am to 5pm)

  • Alcoholics Anonymous: 0845 769 7555 (24-hour helpline)