West Cumbria Samaritans are encouraging people to beat ‘Blue Monday’ by getting together for a cuppa.

Dubbed ‘the most difficult day of the year’, the charity is turning the third Monday in January on its head and is hoping to banish the January blues by encouraging friends, family and workmates to have a chat over a brew.

The third Monday in January, ‘Blue Monday’ is often cited as ‘the most difficult day of the year’.

The idea is that broken resolutions, financial problems, family issues, and personal problems mean the dark days and cold nights are even harder to deal with.

Two years ago, Samaritans decided to turn Blue Monday into something more positive by making it ‘Brew Monday’ instead.

The charity asked people to do something really simple and really practical to help others: take time for a cuppa and a chat with anyone who may be going through a tough time.

Last year's campaign reached 4.8 million people on social media and was supported by a host of celebrities including Dame Barbara Windsor, Ross Noble and Audley Harrison.

Thanks to the charity's partnership with Network Rail and the wider rail industry, Samaritans volunteers were able to raise awareness by handing out tens of thousands of tea bags at more than 100 railway stations across England, Scotland and Wales.

Samaritans volunteers from the Whitehaven branch will be at Asda, Dunmail Park, in Workington from 10am to 1pm on January 21.

Chatting to shoppers and handing out free tea bags for a cuppa, Sue Hayman Labour MP for Workington will also be stopping by for a cuppa during the morning.

Located on Church Street in Whitehaven, West Cumbria Samaritans currently has 33 volunteers helping to answer some of the five million national calls for help that Samaritans respond to every year from people going through a difficult time.

The branch also has many links with local community services in West Cumbria.

Whitehaven director, Glynis Peacock, said: “Isolation and loneliness are one of the main reasons people contact Samaritans, so getting together for a brew with friends can provide a lift on what is meant to be one of the most difficult days of the year.”

Alastair Sharp, publicity officer in Whitehaven, said: "In times of of distress talking about things can go a long way to helping find solutions or acceptance of problems. Sometimes small talk can change lives."