Waterloo passengers given an uppa with a cuppa on Brew Monday

Samaritans have transformed Blue Monday into Brew Monday to cheer up commuters.

The organisation wants to explode the myth of the third Monday of January being the saddest day of the year.

Its event at Waterloo Station was attended by Samaritans listening volunteers providing tea bags and a chat to passengers.

To mark the event, artist Britain’s Got Talent contestant and food artist Nathan Wyburn created a live picture out of coffee illustrating a volunteer speaking to a member of the public.

Nathan has had his own mental health struggles and anxiety which at times stalled his creativity, but he credits the power of talking in his recovery.

Nathan is known for creating art with food, including portraits of Mariah Carey and Tim Peake, so for Brew Monday Nathan created an uplifting portrait showing two people connecting, made with coffee and biscuits.

Nathan said: “Having suffered with anxiety, panic attacks and bouts of depression for many years, I know first-hand how difficult it can be to do anything in those moments, let alone talk – but take it from me, once you open up about how you’re feeling, it can be life-changing.

Britain’s Got Talent contestant, Nathan Wyburn created a live picture out of coffee illustrating a volunteer speaking to a member of the public

I’m so proud to be supporting Brew Monday and really hope my coffee art catches someone’s eye and makes them think to pick up the phone to a friend. You never know just how much a simple conversation could help someone.”

Former volunteer, illustrator and author James Norbury, and contemporary wellbeing artist Emelie Hryhoruk, are also part of the campaign.

James Norbury is a former Samaritans volunteer who recently published his first illustrated book Big Panda & Tiny Dragon to share some of the ideas that helped him through difficult times.

James’ Brew Monday illustration includes a heartfelt penned message reading “Life is like a pot of tea…Share it if you can.”

Speaking about his own experience, James said: “Having struggled with intrusive thoughts for years, I’ve felt the pain and sadness that many callers experience.

Talking can help you feel less alone and bring the problems sitting at the back of your head in the shadowy darkness, into the light. Things can often feel much more tangible, rather than a confusing awful mess. Talking about how you feel is a great tonic.”

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

Samaritans speaking to a member of the public at Brew Monday event at Waterloo Station

Throughout the various lockdowns and restrictions, the pandemic has shown us that staying connected with others has been a vital part of getting people through difficult times.
We know the impact talking and listening can have, and a cup of tea and 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.”

Andrew Haines, chief executive of Network Rail, said: “Looking after our passengers and staff is so important to our railway family and I know there is more we can all do to help those in crisis.

Every one of us has the skills to help someone in need and Brew Monday is a powerful reminder of the simple steps we can take.

I am really pleased we are once again able to join Samaritans in our stations to reach out to commuters and those who may be struggling with their mental health.”

Hundreds of Samaritans volunteers will be out at their local train stations across the UK throughout January.

The Brew Monday support comes as part of the rail industry’s suicide prevention programme.

Samaritans has worked in partnership with Network Rail, on behalf of the rail industry 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 need help.

Find out more at


Photo credit: Samaritans/Simon Way’ 

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