Commuters, Samaritans and Celebrity friends beat the blues on 'Brew Monday'

Danny-Boy Hatchard, Robbie Williams, Lorraine Kelly and Soccer AM's John Fendley supporting charity tea and chat.

Commuters at Kings Cross enjoyed a celebrity cuppa with actor Danny-Boy Hatchard and Sky soccer pundit Fenners to promote Samaritans Brew Monday today.

Samaritans and Network Rail are encouraging everyone to make time for a cuppa and a chat and ignore the marketing fakery of Blue Monday in favour of Brew Monday.

Events are also taking place around the country with more than 30 Samaritans branches raising awareness of Brew Monday and the fact that Samaritans volunteers are available any time to help people struggling.

Celebrities, including Shooting Stars legend Vic Reeves and Edward Monkton creator, Giles Andraeae, are backing the campaign to get us all taking when times are tough. Robbie Williams, ITV’s Lorraine and Loose Women presenters Ayda Field, Janet Street Porter, Nadia Sawalha and Kaye Adams are sharing what chases their blues away.

Samaritans has produced a series of seven short animations, narrated by Reeves and featuring some of Andraea’s best loved characters by his alter ego Edward Monkton, to add a little light to January, often a bleak month, with its cold, dark days, failed resolutions and no shortage of bills. 

A big fan of a timely brew, Vic Reeves (real name Jim Moir) is leading by example and combining his surreal sense of humour with Giles’ Andreae’s work, which encourages us all to see things differently.

Giles Andreae, who has written publicly about his experience of depression said:  "If depression has taught me one thing, it is this: what a rare and beautiful treasure is the simple human gift of joy. For me now, joy - our capacity to delight in one another and in the world - is the reason why we are here. It is as simple as that. And I feel compelled to spread the word."

Samaritans Head of Press & PR Lynsey Pollard said: ‘People struggling alone with difficult thoughts often tell us they wish someone would notice what they are going through but they don’t know how to explain or reach out for support. ‘Let us be kind’ as Edward Monkton puts it in one of these beautiful animations and make Brew Monday a day when we all have that little bit of extra courage, to talk and to take time to listen to people we care about. It really could save a life.”

Actor Danny-Boy Hatchard (currently in EastEnders), who plays a young man grappling with depression and suicidal feelings said: “Playing his character has made me realise the importance of not letting challenges overwhelm you. Asking for support and talking about what you’re going through can really help. Just having a cup of tea and a chat with a friend is an opportunity for them to do that.”

Cult football show presenter Fenners said: “I like the work Samaritans do and think it’s important for men in particular to reach out for help when things are tough. This initiative is a fun way of reaching everyone at a difficult time of the year for many people”.  

Samaritans CEO Ruth Sutherland said: “Challenging feelings don’t work to a calendar and external circumstances are only one part of what can makes life feel overwhelming. Health, family, work, relationships and money issues, or feelings of loneliness, isolation or uncertainty could be making life really tough. Samaritan’s ‘Brew Monday’ gives you the chance to sit down with a friend and talk to them or listen to them over a cup of tea, or coffee if you prefer!

“If you want to make an even bigger difference in 2017, why not think about donating some money or some of your time to Samaritans to help keep our life-saving services going.”

Ian Stevens, Programme Manager for Suicide Prevention at Network Rail, said on behalf of the rail industry: “Brew Monday is a great example of the kind of collaborative work the rail industry can  undertake with our partners at Samaritans to help save lives. Last year staff across the network made 239 life-saving interventions, thanks to our partnership. Our British Transport Police colleagues made a further 300.

“Millions of people use railway stations every day and we hope by using them to promote this important message, we will encourage more people to get together to talk over a cup of tea, speak to friends or relatives and save more lives.”

There’s even a universal dimension to Brew Monday, with astronaut-in-training, mental health campaigner, performance poet Hussain Manawer performing a special poem to mark the day on You Tube.

Anyone can get on board with Brew Monday by making a date to have a cuppa with someone they know. Find out more at www.samaritans.org/brewmonday, follow #BrewMonday on Twitter, or Samaritans on facebook at www.facebook.com/samaritanscharity.

Make Brew Monday really count.  Your money or your time could save a life.  Find out how to volunteer or support Samaritans with a donation.

For more information, images and interviews, please contact press@samaritans.org or 020 8394 8300.  You can also follow the Brew Monday campaign on Twitter @samaritans #brewmonday

                                                                                -ENDS-

Notes to editors:

  • Samaritans responds to more than 5.7 million calls for help every year, offering emotional support by phone, email, text and face to face in its 201 branches across the UK and Republic of Ireland.  For more information, please see samaritans.org
  • *Festive period refers to 18.12.16 and 01.01.17
  • Just £4.26 helps us answer one Samaritans call. Go to www.samaritans.org/donate to help us be there for even more people that need us.
  • Samaritans works with Network Rail and the wider rail industry to prevent deaths on the railways and support those affected by them. Find out more at:  http://www.samaritans.org/for-business/rail-industry-suicide-prevention-programme