Celebri-teas stand up to loneliness for Samaritans’ Brew Monday

Reaching out to someone could make all the difference, says Love Island’s Dr Alex George

A&E doctor and Love Island contestant Dr Alex George, is among celebrities who are speaking out about loneliness in a specially produced film released today for Samaritans’ Brew Monday, 21 January 2019.

Brew Monday encourages people to get together with friends, family and work mates, who may be lonely, for a cuppa and a chat. It’s a takeover of Blue Monday, the third Monday in January, which has been dubbed ‘the most difficult day of the year’.

Dr Alex George, 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. Reaching out to someone over a cuppa, could possibly make all the difference. It’s like the domino effect – a chain reaction of positive events.” 

BRIT Award nominated IDLES front man, Joe Talbot, radio presenter Gemma Cairney and super star poet and mental health campaigner Hussain Manawer, join Dr Alex George in the video. The celebrities 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. The video can be seen here.

Dr Alex George experienced feelings of loneliness as a student and credits a friend for listening to him. He said: “In my fourth year of medical school, I went away on a placement to Truro in Cornwall. Being far away, I felt incredibly isolated, which led me to feel lonely and unhappy, but I was lucky to have a few friends out there with me.

“They noticed I was feeling down and went out of their way to talk to me about how I was feeling. Something as simple as someone listening, made a huge difference.” 

It’s not all about biscuits though – there’s a serious side to Brew Monday, 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.

19-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 CEO Ruth Sutherland said: “Days like Brew Monday can help raise awareness of loneliness as a national issue but, for too long, loneliness in young people has not been taken seriously. It’s time to put this right and listen to what they are telling us.

“Local areas desperately need more funding for appropriate services and opportunities across our communities that support young people to be listened to and to get any help they need.”

All over the UK and Ireland 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. Over 150 rail stations events will take place with volunteers talking to people about the service on their daily commute and across the rail industry, over 70 tea parties will be put on to join Brew Monday celebrations.

For further information, photos and interviews, please contact press@samaritans.org or 020 8394 8300. A full press pack including the release, video and photos is available here.


Notes to Editors:

  • Find out more about Brew Monday at www.samaritans.org/brewmonday
  • If you are supporting Samaritans on Brew Monday, you can share your moment on social media using the hashtag #BrewMonday.
  • You can follow @samaritans on Twitter, @samaritanscharity on Instagram or find us on facebook  www.facebook.com/samaritanscharity
  • The report can be found here: https://www.samaritans.org/samaritans-policy-and-influencing-work/loneliness-suicide-and-young-people and sets out key findings from:
    • An online survey with 250 young people between June and October 2018, who had felt lonely and suicidal at some point in their lives
    • Interviews with 15 young people on their experiences of loneliness and suicidal thoughts
    • A literature review on loneliness and suicide
    • A policy roundtable with experts on loneliness, suicide and young people
  • Anyone can contact Samaritans for FREE any time from any phone on 116 123. This number won’t show up on your phone bill. Or you can email jo@samaritans.org or visit www.samaritans.org to find details of your nearest branch.
  • Samaritans is a charity and it’s the public’s kind donations and more than 20,000 volunteers that mean we are always there for anyone struggling to cope. Find out how you can support us at www.samaritans.org/supportus.