Samaritans Scotland and Bake Off's Laura Adlington are encouraging people to reach out to others and connect over a virtual cuppa to help beat the winter blues.
In a bid to make sure no one is lonely over the long winter months as restrictions continue, Samaritans Scotland and Laura Adlington are encouraging people to reach out to someone they care about for a virtual cuppa this winter for the charity’s Brew Monday campaign.
New online research from the charity has found that 3 in 5 (61%) adults in Scotland felt that speaking 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. Among these, helping people keep in contact with loved ones (86 %), feeling less isolated (55%) and improving their mood (54%) were all highlighted as common reasons for keeping in touch.
Today, Samaritans Scotland kicks off Brew Monday which flips the third Monday of January - often referred to as Blue Monday - on its head into something positive. Laura, who stormed to Bake Off success last year, has been a Samaritans volunteer for two years and, like a lot of people over the past year, has struggled.
She said: “I’ve felt very isolated and there have been days where I didn’t want to get out of bed, let alone talk to anyone. But I found that the more I talked and reached out to people, the better I felt.”
The charity’s latest research also revealed simply knowing that someone who cares for your wellbeing is there for you can make a big difference.
Laura said: “Keeping in touch with people throughout the pandemic has been the only way I’ve got through it. Being away from home for six weeks during Bake Off was challenging but I always managed to find time for a chat with my husband every day to share how I was feeling. He probably didn’t realise it but those conversations, however short, helped me find the inner strength I needed to keep going.
“If 2020 has taught us anything it’s to be kind. If you think someone is struggling, ask them if they’re ok. You’re not going to make them feel worse. You don’t need to have all the answers. A phone call is such a small thing, but it can mean the world to someone.”
Rachel Cackett, Executive Director for Samaritans Scotland, said: “Even in normal circumstances, we know that winter can be a difficult time of year for people and the pandemic restrictions will heighten these challenges for many. So it’s never been more important that we all take steps to look after our wellbeing and stay connected.
As we kick-off our Brew Monday campaign, we’re encouraging people to make time for a virtual cuppa and a chat with family, friends or co-workers this winter. Even if we can’t be together in person, we can still check in with one another and take time to listen. It doesn’t have to be on a Monday or over a cup of tea - what matters is to stay connected and remind ourselves and one another that we don’t have to face difficult times alone.”
Laura features in a new film to celebrate Samaritans Brew Monday alongside fellow volunteers, students and key workers from Network Rail.
Network Rail and the rail industry are supporting Brew Monday with the help of author and illustrator Charlie Mackesy. Charlie has shared a special uplifting illustration from his much-loved book The Boy, the Mole, the Fox and the Horse which has brought comfort to many. The illustration features a new message for Brew Monday, as the Mole asks a slice of cake, “can I share you with a friend?” and will be displayed across Network Rail stations, including Edinburgh Waverley and Glasgow Central stations, from January 18.
Alex Hynes, Managing Director of Scotland’s Railway, said: “Brew Monday is always a great opportunity to reach out to others and show them we care.
“This year, perhaps more than ever before, it is important to help those who may be struggling.
“Just taking five minutes out for a virtual cuppa, or a call, could make all the difference to someone you know and we are encouraging anyone who can to get involved.”
Notes to editor
- Research was carried out by YouGov from 27-30 November 2020 and included 2,075 UK adults, including 186 adults in Scotland. The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all UK adults (aged 18+).
- 3 in 5 adults (61%) in Scotland said that connecting with others in person or on the phone / video calls, has had a positive effect on their mental health and wellbeing since the start of lockdown in March. (58% of adults across the UK)
- Of adults in Scotland that said connecting with others has had a positive effect on their mental health, the top reasons for this include helping people to keep in touch with family and friends (86%), feeling less isolated (55%) and improving their mood (54%).
- 85% of adults in Scotland said that feeling connected to other people (i.e. to know that someone is there who cares for your wellbeing) since the pandemic restrictions began was important (81% of adults across the UK)