Samaritans’ Brew Monday self-help tips - over a cuppa

Samaritans' Brew Monday poster

Samaritans' Brew Monday poster - Credit: Samaritans

Samaritans in Welwyn Hatfield are gearing up to offer further help as the effects of COVID-19 on people’s physical and mental health accelerate.

And, as well as calling or messaging a Samaritans volunteer, they are offering two ways for people to help themselves. 

Branch director Susannah Fenton said: “People are clearly seeing the daily figures and, as well as looking at the big picture, they may be looking at the effects of the virus on their own loved ones, friends, colleagues and neighbours and, of course, this may impact their mental health. 

Samaritans branch director Susannah Fenton

Samaritans branch director Susannah Fenton - Credit: Samaritans

“We’re here on the phone and email 24/7. But we also want to offer two ways people might want to self-help – as well as getting in touch with us as normal.”

Each year Samaritans in Welwyn Hatfield run ‘Brew Monday’. This year it’s on next Monday – January 18. 

It coincides with the day that, in normal times, has been described as ‘Blue Monday’ – many people’s lowest day of a normal year.

Susannah said: “Normally we’re out and about in our local area handing out tea bags and leaflets and talking to people about the importance of discussing feelings. This year, sadly, we can’t do that.

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“So we want to use Brew Monday 2021 to encourage people to call anyone who might appreciate a call and have a chat over a cup of tea – and on any day, not just a Monday.

"Some may find it hard to have difficult conversations, so we’d also like to share our five ‘SHUSH’ listening tips to help people discuss tough emotional feelings.

“Of course, it doesn’t have to be Monday, or a cup of tea, the important thing is to take time to really listen to another person and allow them to work through what’s on their mind.”

The Samaritans ‘SHUSH’ tips are:

1. Show you care. Focus on the other person, make eye contact, and put away your phone.

2. Have patience. It may take time and several attempts before a person is ready to open up.

3. Use open questions. Ones that need more than a yes/no answer, and follow up with questions like ‘Tell me more’.

4. Say it back. Check you’ve understood, but don’t interrupt or offer a solution.

5. Have courage. Don’t be put off by a negative response and, most importantly, don’t feel you have to fill a silence.

The branch also has a self-help app on its national website at

Anyone can contact a Samaritan on 116 123 or

Calls are free, confidential and non-judgmental.

You can support Samaritans in Welwyn Hatfield by texting TEA to 70085 to donate £3. Messages cost £3 plus your standard network rate. 

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