Today is often described as ‘Blue Monday’ or the most depressing day of the year. For many, the third Monday in January means bad weather, darkness, lack of holidays to look forward to and financial hardship.
But anyone who has ever struggled with depression knows that everyone has good and bad days, regardless of the calendar.
I support the Samaritans campaign ‘Brew Monday’, which aims to dispel the myth of Blue Monday and awareness of the importance of meeting up with others for a cup of tea and a chat. There are events going on across the country, including in Parliament, where I joined Liz Twist (MP for Blaydon) and many other colleagues for a virtual meet-up.
We’ve all had a very difficult couple of years isolated from friends and family. I’ll be taking up the Samaritans’ recommendations and checking in on people I know who may be lonely.
If you feel lonely, depressed or just need to speak to someone, I’ve put some useful contact details below.
If someone you know might be feeling lonely, now is a good time to contact them. Arranging to meet for a cuppa has been difficult over the last two years – maybe now is the time to fix up a time to meet in person. If you’re not able to do that, maybe you are able to pick up the phone or even fix up a social video call? Getting together can’t fix everything – but it can reduce isolation and it can help someone to make the first step to getting help if they need it. Let’s take care of each other!
- The Samaritans provide emotional support to anyone in distress, struggling to cope or at risk of suicide. You can call 116 123, for free, any time of day or night.
- Bristol Mental Health has a phone line for people in crisis, on 0300 555 0334. It is open 24 hours, 7 days a week.
- Off the Record provides free and confidential counselling for young people aged 11 to 25 years in Bristol.
- Avon and Wiltshire Mental Health Partnership also has a 24/7 mental health response line, 0800 953 1919.