Our Executive Director, Rachel Cackett, encourages people to reach out and share a virtual cuppa this winter.
How are you doing today? Feeling better than yesterday? You may have missed it but yesterday was ‘Blue Monday’ - the third Monday of January and what is often labelled as the most depressing day of the year.
While there’s no hard evidence to suggest that Blue Monday really is the most depressing day of the year, I’m sure that many of us may be finding things difficult at the moment. As we find ourselves back in lockdown with all the pressures and uncertainties that brings, the need to look after our mental health and stay connected has rarely felt more pressing - or more challenging. That’s why we’re encouraging people to connect with family, friends and co-workers throughout January and February - not just on Brew Monday.
While last year saw Samaritans volunteers giving out Brew Monday teabags to commuters at rail stations across Scotland, Brew Monday 2021 looks rather different for obvious reasons. This time last year, none of us could imagine how much our lives would change over the course of 2020.
It may be a while before we can catch up in person over a tea or coffee but we’re encouraging everyone to make time for a virtual cuppa with family, friends, or co-workers this winter. A recent online poll, conducted for Samaritans by YouGov, highlighted just how important these catch-ups can be, showing that 3 in 5 (58%) people across the UK felt that speaking regularly to friends and family either on the phone, via video calls or in person over the last year had a positive effect on their mental wellbeing.
Creating space to talk and to listen is at the heart of what Samaritans do. It's why our volunteers across the UK & Ireland have continued to be there to listen, day or night, since the pandemic began - providing emotional support over 1.2 million times in the just the first six months after restrictions began last year.
Rachel Cackett, Executive Director
Many of those conversations spoke to the unprecedented challenges people are facing during the pandemic, including worries about physical and mental health, feelings of loneliness and isolation, the strain of lockdown on home life and relationships, and worries about job loss, debt and making ends meet.
In the face of these challenges, it can be easy to feel overwhelmed. But the good news is that we can all be there to listen. While it may seem like a small thing, giving someone who is struggling the space to talk openly and honestly can make a huge difference to their wellbeing. It can even be life-saving. So, as we face the challenges of the weeks ahead, let’s keep making time for tea, coffee and catching up, and remind ourselves and each other, we don’t have to face these tough times alone.
To join in Brew Monday throughout the month of January and February visit www.samaritans.org/brew-monday
This article was originally published in the Scotsman on the 19th of January.