More than 150 events are being held at railway stations across the UK to encourage people to talk to each other on Blue Monday – described as the most depressing day of the year.
The Samaritans’ Brew Monday campaign hopes to spark conversations between family, friends and colleagues by handing out thousands of tea bags.
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.
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Kelly Holyoake, a train dispatcher at a south London station, saved the life of a man who had dropped a suicide note on the floor and was standing at the edge of a platform.
She said: “I asked him what was going on and he told me to stay away. I moved back and gave it a few minutes which seemed like a lifetime, then I stepped forward again and started talking to him. It was the worst and best day. I went through all the emotions but I knew I made a difference.”
Transport ministers will visit stations today to support the Samaritans initiative. 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.”
- 25-34-year-olds experience the highest levels of loneliness (82%), but the issue is prevalent across all age groups according to the new research in support of Samaritans
- More than half of Brits (52%) believe there is a stigma attached to being lonely.
- 9 in 10 (87%) of the people surveyed said that having a face to face catch up over a cup of tea would help them feel less lonely.
Turning the idea of ‘Blue Monday’ on its head into something positive, Samaritans Brew Monday encourages people to get together with family, friends or colleagues for a chat and a warming cuppa throughout January and February.
Taking time to listen to another person could help them through a tough time and having a brew together is a great excuse to do just that. People can use their get-together to raise money for Samaritans, so someone having a tough time has somewhere to turn. Brew Monday has the backing of British stars including Dame Julie Walters, former Bake Off contestant Michael Chakraverty and comedian Rachel Parris.
Dame Julie Walters, who is supporting the campaign, said: “Talking is really important – to get it out of your head and into the atmosphere and for someone to witness that, is important in life. I’m supporting Brew Monday as 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.”Enjoy more Heritage Railway reading in the four-weekly magazine. Click here to subscribe.