Help us tackle the stigma of mental health…get the kettle on and turn ‘Blue Monday’ into ‘Brew Monday’

Posted: 20/01/20

Hands holding a cup of tea, with a blue-coloured oveerlay, with the text 'turn

Collaborating organisations across the North East and North Cumbria are backing a national campaign to get together today with loved ones, friends and colleagues to talk about our problems over a cuppa and turn ‘Blue Monday’ into ‘Brew Monday.’

Today is traditionally the lowest day of the year for many of us, with bills arriving after Christmas, dark nights and pay day yet to arrive, but the Zero Suicide Alliance (ZSA) is encouraging everyone to take time out of their day and talk about their troubles over a cuppa.

It’s the fifth year of the Big Brew campaign, which will be marked by almost 200 organisations across the country holding events. The aim is to try and get everyone talking so those that need help can access it and make positive steps towards a recovery.

We know that talking and asking for help is one of the hardest steps for those that need it for their mental health and wellbeing, and we’re delighted to be part of the ‘Brew Monday’ campaign.

We hope that by encouraging our colleagues and partners to get involved we can play our part in helping to break down the stigma associated with mental illness.

John LawlorChief Executive of Cumbria, Northumberland, Tyne and Wear NHS Foundation Trust and Chair of the North East and North Cumbria Integrated Care System (ICS) Mental Health programme

Organisations including NHS providers, local authorities, and the voluntary sector across the region are encouraging their staff across the North of England to get involved in the Big Brew campaign, by hosting their own events or just taking time for a cuppa with colleagues and service users.

The ZSA has also developed free online suicide prevention training, using the expertise of clinicians and the experience of those who have lived through suicide bereavement and uses real life scenarios to provide the skills to approach those in trouble. The training is available online, and the ICS are encouraging staff and members of the public to take twenty minutes to complete the training and learn how to save a life.

A spokesman for the ZSA added: “We’re delighted so many organisations are backing our national campaign to get the country talking over a cuppa. It’s only by talking to each other that we can really get help to those that need it and signpost them to the right services.

“For too long, mental health and suicide has been a taboo subject that was avoided in conversation, but campaigns like ‘Brew Monday’ can help bring it to the forefront so we can really address the growing suicide problem in the UK.”

Over 6,500 suicides were recorded across the UK in 2018 with every one having a major impact both emotionally and socially on friends, relatives, work colleagues, and on the local economy.

The North East and North Cumbria Suicide Prevention Network, part of the ICS, launched their Regional Multi-Agency Plan for 2019-2024 on World Suicide Prevention Day in September last year. This plan has been developed by engaging with a wide range of local partners across the region, driven by learning from people who have been bereaved by suicide. The Network ambition is to do everything possible to reduce the number of suicides, and to reduce the impact where this does happen.

Useful phone numbers:

People who need help who are in distress and need help can get in touch with CNTW’s Initial Response services which are open for anyone to call, 24 hours a day. If you live in:
• Cumbria call 0300 123 9015
• Newcastle or Gateshead call 0191 814 8899
• North Tyneside or Northumberland call 0303 123 1146
• South Tyneside or Sunderland can call 0303 123 1145
If you or another person have been harmed or are at immediate risk and require an emergency response, please contact 999.

Some other useful helplines are:
• Samaritans – phone 116 123 or email [email protected]
• CALM – an anonymous and confidential helpline & webchat, open 5pm to midnight every day, phone 0800 58 58 58 or visit
• Shout – 24/7 crisis text support service, text 85258
• Childline – phone 0800 1111 or visit
• Papyrus HopelineUK – for young people under the age of 35, call 0800 068 4141, text 07860039967, or email [email protected]
You can also ring your GP and ask for an emergency appointment.