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Samaritans launches new 'Brew Monday' campaign against loneliness starring Love Island's Alex George

The campaign also features Joe Talbot from IDLES, radio presenter Gemma Cairney and poet Hussain Manawer

Sarah Young
Monday 21 January 2019 09:43
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Samaritans launches new campaign against loneliness: Join the domino effect

The Samaritans has launched a new campaign to encourage people to get together and reach out to those who may be feeling lonely.

Dubbed “Brew Monday”, the campaign is a takeover of “Blue Monday”, the third Monday in January, which some refer to as the most depressing day of the year, while others believe the term is simply a misguided PR stunt.

A report by the charity found loneliness can play a significant role in suicide risk among people aged 16 to 24, with many citing the stigma around loneliness as the main reason preventing them getting the help they need.

As a result, the Samaritans hope Brew Monday will encourage people to get together with friends, family and work colleagues who may be lonely for a cup of tea.

This year, celebrities including Dr Alex George from Love Island, Joe Talbot from punk rock band IDLES, radio presenter Gemma Cairney and poet Hussain Manawer are all involved in the campaign.

Speaking about his experience of loneliness, A&E doctor Alex George revealed that opening up to his friends helped him through.

“When I was in medical school, away from home, I felt incredibly isolated,” he said.

“I was lucky to have some of my university friends out there with me and they noticed I was feeling down and went out of their way to talk to me about how I was feeling. Something as simple as someone listening to my problems made a huge difference.”

Hussain Manawer agreed, adding that while his friends have always been there for him, it’s important to recognise that it “works both ways”.

“Thankfully my friends are like Avengers. They know me well enough to know when I'm feeling a bit low and they reach out,” he said.

“And it works both ways, we all look out for each other. It makes the world of difference, mainly because they are making you feel valued as a person and can help remind you of your self-worth.

“I have learnt that it’s ok to reach out and let friends know you are present for them regardless of their situation.”

The two celebrities feature alongside Cairney and Talbot in a video where they build a trail of biscuits shaped like dominoes to illustrate how reaching out to someone could be the start of them feeling less lonely, and the beginning of a positive domino effect.

While the Samaritans says it’s not unusual to feel down at this time of year, it encourages anyone finding it hard to cope, feeling emotional, not wanting to talk or using alcohol or drugs to get by, to get in touch.

You can contact the Samaritans at any time on the charity’s free number 116 123, or visit www.samaritans.co.uk.

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