Workers at Waterloo station gather for Brew Monday Samaritans campaign.

Today may be ‘Blue Monday’ – thought to be the most difficult day of the year – but Samaritans’ Brew Monday campaign aims to raise spirits by harnessing the uplifting power of a good brew and a chat.

We're working with the wider rail industry to support the charity in its bid to beat the winter blues. Author and illustrator Charlie Mackesy is showing his support after a challenging year for all by creating a special illustration to encourage rail passengers and staff to reach out to someone they care about and connect over a virtual cuppa this winter.

It comes as research from Samaritans has found that 58% of UK adults felt speaking regularly to friends and family – on the phone, via video calls or in person – over the last year had had a positive effect on their mental wellbeing. Survey respondents highlighted feeling less isolated and improving their mood as common reasons for keeping in touch.

Samaritans is kicking off Brew Monday today to help ensure fewer people struggle alone. Turning ‘Blue Monday’ on its head and into something positive, Charlie Mackesy has shared an uplifting illustration from his international bestselling book The Boy, the Mole, the Fox and the Horse, whose drawings and words of hope have brought comfort to many this year.

Charlie has penned a new message for Brew Monday within the illustration, as the Mole asks a slice of cake, “can I share you with a friend?”.

The current pandemic restrictions mean Samaritans volunteers can’t talk to passengers at stations about the importance of staying connected this Brew Monday. However, we'll display the illustration across our stations’ digital screens, highlighting the power of human connection to inspire passengers.

Our staff will also hold virtual Brew events to check in on their colleagues, friends and family members that they can’t be with, to stay connected this winter.

Andrew Haines, chief executive of Network Rail, said: “This year, it’s more important than ever that we make time to take care of ourselves and check in on each other. That’s why we’re supporting Brew Monday. I encourage you all to take five and to talk to a friend, family member or colleague today. Something as simple as this could make a real difference to someone who may be struggling.”

Julie Bentley, chief executive of Samaritans, said: “We’re so grateful to Network Rail and the rail industry for their support of Brew Monday this year. The challenges that many people face during this season have been felt even more acutely this year with the pandemic restrictions.

“At Samaritans, we know how powerful talking and listening, even if it is virtually, can be. It doesn’t have to be a Monday or a cup of tea, it’s about taking the time to really listen and supporting one another, which could potentially save a life.”

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 22,000 rail and BTP staff to look out for passengers and make conversation if they feel someone might be vulnerable.

Find out more at samaritans.org/brewmonday or join the conversation on social media using #BrewMonday and why not make a donation while you’re there, you could help save a life.  

Charlie’s illustration is also available to buy as a pin badge from Samaritans’ online shop.

Read more:

Samaritans

Suicide prevention: “Make time to do the right thing.”

Suicide prevention on the railway

Safety in the community