Samaritans is aiming to get people talking over a cuppa to mark Blue Monday
Celebrities are encouraging people to get talking over a cuppa this Blue Monday.
Love Island contestant Dr Alex George, is among celebrities who are speaking out about loneliness in a specially produced film released today (Monday 21 January) for Samaritans’ Brew Monday event.
The initiative encourages people to get together with friends, family and work mates, who may be lonely, for a drink and a chat. It’s is a takeover of Blue Monday, the third Monday in January, which has been dubbed the most difficult day of the year.
Dr Alex, an A&E doctor at Lewisham Hospital in London, said: “Moments like Brew Monday can help make us more aware of the need to reach out to people who might be feeling lonely. Offering a mug of the hot stuff, could possibly make all the difference. It’s like the domino effect – a chain reaction of positive events.”
IDLES front man, Joe Talbot, radio presenter Gemma Cairney and super star poet and mental health campaigner Hussain Manawer are also featured in the video. The celebs build a trail of biscuits shaped like dominoes to illustrate how reaching out to someone could be the start of them feeling less lonely and the beginning of a positive domino effect.
Minister for Mental Health Clare Haughey shared her support for Brew Monday, saying: “All across Scotland, Samaritans volunteers are there to listen to anyone who is struggling to cope, day or night. Brew Monday reminds us that we can all be there for someone, through simple everyday acts like taking the time to have a cup of tea and chat with our family, friends and colleagues.”
Brew Monday isn't all about tea and biscuits - as loneliness is an issue that can affect everyone, including young people. A report launched today by Samaritans looked at the role loneliness can play in suicide risk. Researchers spoke to 18-24-year olds about their experiences of loneliness and suicidal feelings. They found that loneliness played a significant role in young people’s suicidal thoughts, with many citing the stigma around loneliness as the main reason preventing them getting the help they needed. The report can be found here.
Nineteen-year-old footballer Ruth Fox, who was part of the research, said: “I have a strong network of people around me, but can often feel like I have absolutely no one to confide in. For me, the most valuable thing that can help on a day to day basis is people checking in on me, it makes me feel a lot less alone and like someone has got my back.”
Samaritans Scotland executive director James Jopling said: “Brew Monday is a powerful reminder that loneliness is something which can affect any of us at different stages of our lives – and it’s clear far too many young people are struggling with the impact it can have.
“We’ve been encouraged by the launch of Scotland’s new loneliness strategy, which recognises this loneliness a national issue. But as we work towards a future where people and communities are more connected; it’s vital we listen to young people’s experiences of loneliness and ensure they’re supported to reach out to others and ask for help.”
All over Scotland in communities and workplaces, people will be getting their mugs out to support Brew Monday, whilst raising vital funds to support Samaritans’ life-saving work.
Volunteers will be spreading the word about Brew Monday and offering free tea bags to commuters at many of Scotland’s major stations including Edinburgh Waverley, Glasgow Central, Paisley Gilmour Street, Inverness and Aberdeen while workplaces, schools and community groups have been holding bake sales and tucking into tea and cake to raise funds.