Samaritans volunteers will be at Birmingham New Street station today (Monday 17 January) as part of the charity’s Brew Monday campaign.

Network Rail is once again joining the effort to encourage passengers and railway staff to share a cuppa and a catch up with someone they care about.

Whilst the third Monday in January is sometimes referred to as ‘the most difficult day of the year’, the charity is highlighting that there’s no such thing as ‘Blue Monday’ as people can feel a range of emotions any day of the year.

Although winter is thought to be one of the harder seasons with dark days and frosty nights, Samaritans volunteers hear similar concerns all year round from those who contact them. The main concerns include mental health and illness (46%), family (34%) and loneliness (28%).

Today volunteers will be on Birmingham New Street’s concourse offering teabags and talking to passengers about the importance of reaching out and talking.

Patrick Power, head of stations for Network Rail’s Central route, said: “We’re really proud to be supporting Samaritans’ Brew Monday campaign again this year and spreading this important message to our passengers.

“Samaritans has worked in partnership with Network Rail and the wider rail industry for over 10 years encouraging the public and our staff to recognise the power of human connection and start a conversation which could save a life. So, we’re putting that into practice this Brew Monday and saying out with the blue and in with the brew!”

Julie Bentley, Samaritans’ CEO, said: “We’re so grateful to the rail industry for their support of Brew Monday again this year.

“Throughout the various lockdowns and restrictions, the pandemic has shown us that a chat won’t solve everything, but it can be a start. You don’t have to have all the answers or solutions, you just need to listen and start a conversation which could just be the support that someone needs.”

The charity has also come together with artists with their own mental health challenges to create inspiring artwork depicting the power of connection, drawn from their own experiences.

In a bid to uplift and inspire rail users in these uncertain times, artwork by Britain’s Got Talent contestant and food artist Nathan Wyburn, former volunteer, illustrator and author James Norbury, and contemporary wellbeing artist Emelie Hryhoruk, who has called Samaritans for support in the past, will be featured on Birmingham New Street station’s digital screens. The Brew Monday support comes as part of the rail industry’s suicide prevention programme and partnership with Network Rail.

Samaritans has worked in partnership with the rail industry and British Transport Police to reduce suicides on the railway for over 10 years, having trained over 24,000 rail and BTP staff to look out for passengers and make conversation if they feel someone might be vulnerable.