People are being encouraged to turn Blue Monday into Brew Monday, when friends and family make a cup of tea and have a chat on the phone or online to show they care about each other.
The third Monday of January is considered to be the most depressing day of the year: the festive season is over, bills may have arrived, payday is some way off, the weather is gloomy and new year resolutions may have been shelved.
This year’s Blue Monday falls during a lockdown in a worldwide pandemic, meaning that challenges faced by many people in winter will be felt even more acutely.
In a bid to beat the blues, Samaritans is urging people to virtually check in with friends and relatives.
Great British Bake Off finalist and Samaritans volunteer Laura Adlington said Brew Monday is about “making sure that people are all right”.
“Let’s reach out, let’s talk to people, and let’s have some meaningful connection and get talking, rather than kind of sitting and feeling sad and feeling alone in our sadness. We’re not alone.”
Adlington said she has had days where she has not wanted to get out of bed and rather than talking to people has felt like she has wanted to “shut the world out a little bit”.
But she said: “What I’ve made myself do recently is reach out to people and talk, and it does help, it genuinely does help.”
Adlington, who has been a Samaritans volunteer for two years, added: “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.”
Samaritans said it found that 58% of UK adults 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.
The charity’s research also found that simply knowing someone who cares for your wellbeing is there for you, can make a big difference.
The research was carried out by YouGov from 27 November to 30 November and included 2,075 UK adults.
Anyone can contact Samaritans free any time from any phone on 116 123, even a mobile without credit. Or you can email [email protected] or visit www.samaritans.org for more information.