Check in on others with a (virtual) brew this Blue Monday

Brew Monday poster

Network Rail has teamed up with Samaritans to bring Brew Monday on Blue Monday, the third Monday in January - Credit: Samaritans

On what is thought to be the most difficult day of the year, Network Rail's Anglia region is participating in ‘Brew Monday’ today (January 18) to help passengers and staff make contact, reach out to each other and focus on mental wellbeing.

The Samaritans-organised event is being held on ‘Blue Monday’, the third Monday in January, aims to raise spirits by harnessing the uplifting power of a good brew and a chat.

In the past, Samaritans volunteers and rail industry staff have talked to passengers in stations but the current pandemic restrictions mean that isn’t possible this year.

Instead, in a bid to beat the winter blues and after a challenging year for all, author and illustrator Charlie Mackesy has created a special illustration to show his support and encourage passengers and staff to reach out to someone they care about and connect over a virtual cuppa this winter.

Brew Monday illustration

Brew Monday illustration - Credit: Charlie Mackesy

It comes as new online research from Samaritans has found that 58 per cent of UK adults felt that speaking regularly to friends and family over the last year had a positive effect on their mental wellbeing.

Turning ‘Blue Monday’ on its head and into something positive, Charlie Mackesy has shared an uplifting illustration from his international bestselling book The Boy, the Mole, the Fox and the Horse. Charlie's illustration will be displayed across Network Rail stations’ digital screens, highlighting the power of human connection.  

Charlie Mackesy

Charlie Mackesy - Credit: David Loftus

Network Rail staff will also be holding virtual events to check in on their colleagues, friends and family members to stay connected this winter.

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Ellie Burrows, Network Rail's route director for Anglia, said: “It's always important, whatever day of the year, to take care of ourselves and check in on others, but even more so now after the difficult year we've just had.

"I want to encourage everyone to take time out to check in on others, whether its virtually with friends, family or colleagues or in person with the people you live with, we can talk, listen and support each other's mental wellbeing."

Julie Bentley, Samaritans’ chief executive, said: “We’re so grateful to Network Rail and the rail industry for their support of Brew Monday this year.

"The challenges that many people face during this season have been felt even more acutely this year with the pandemic restrictions.

"At Samaritans, we know how powerful talking and listening, even if it is virtually, can be. It doesn’t have to be a Monday or a cup of tea, it’s about taking the time to really listen and supporting one another, which could potentially save a life.”

The Brew Monday support comes as part of the rail industry’s suicide prevention programme. You can find out more at or on social media by using #BrewMonday. Charlie’s illustration is also available to buy as a pin badge from Samaritans’ online shop.