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As Blue Monday approaches, Ben launches new text service

Automotive charity Ben has launched a new text service, providing support 24/7, ahead of ‘Blue Monday’.

January is often a tough time for those suffering with mental health, and has become much tougher in recent years. The bright lights and festive joy of Christmas is over, the gap between payday is longer, and social media feeds are awash with people declaring their ambitious personal goals. 

For some, this can lead to a feeling of forced positivity, made worse should that bubble break. It can become a difficult standard to live up to, and there is increased pressur that you should support friends and loved ones with their targets while not truly understanding your own.

The last couple of years have also added to people’s pressures. The festive period in 2020 was interrupted by COVID-19 lockdowns, leaving many feeling alone. Things recovered slightly in 2021, but the cost-of-living crisis means many are struggling financially, and with Christmas a period of big spending, January could be tougher than ever.

Ben often sees an increase in requests for support in the winter months, and with Blue Monday around the corner, has unveiled its new text service to ensure people who are struggling or in crisis can access free and confidential help any time they need it, day or night.

Ben text service – how to access round the clock support

The Ben text service offers support outside of the charity’s helpline hours (Monday to Friday, 8am to 8pm), and has been developed in partnership with Shout. If you need support outside of Ben’s helpline hours, you can simply text the word BEN to 85258

You will then receive four automated messages which will connect you to the next available trained professional who will support you. You will then be able to chat over text about what is troubling you – be it feeling anxious, having relationship issues, experiencing problems with addiction or gambling, feeling lonely, low in mood or depression, dealing with bullying, or experiencing thoughts of self-harm or suicide. 

Whatever is on your mind, the Ben team is on hand 24/7 to listen and help you to reach a calmer and safer place and figure out a plan for how to move forward, not just for Blue Monday, but any time you need them.

What is Blue Monday?

Blue Monday is often the third Monday of the year, and is seen as the most depressing point of January. At this time, Christmas festivities are long behind us, and for some, the resolutions made during that feel-good period have already fallen by the wayside.

It also marks a longer period from payday than any other time in the year, with most workers paid before Christmas. Sometimes, this pay is spent on presents and is therefore stretched to its limits, meaning by Blue Monday, funds are running low.

The phrase Blue Monday was coined in 2004 by Sky Travel in a press release with a formula to prove it was the most depressing day of the year. While this theory has been debunked, the fact remains that many people feel low in January, and Blue Monday is a rallying point for those who are struggling. 

Though things may seem bleak, there is always help at hand, and Ben is just a call or a text away.

Options of support for everyone

“We are delighted to be launching our text service in advance of Blue Monday as we know this will be a hugely valuable new resource for people who need our help,” commented Rachel Clift, Health & Wellbeing Director at Ben. “The fact that people can now contact us and receive support at any time, day or night, means that we can offer potentially life-saving support to our automotive family who may be struggling or in crisis.

“Sometimes people prefer to text rather than speak on the phone, it can be easier to share how we truly feel, to chat discretely if there are others in earshot, or to talk about things that are causing us shame or embarrassment over text rather than having to say them out loud. Our existing webchat during the day and now a dedicated out of hours text support service gives our community another way of accessing vital help and may make a crucial difference to someone who is thinking of harming themselves or taking more drastic action in a time of crisis. We want people to know that we are here, any time, for a judgment-free, confidential chat.”

Between 8pm – 8am you can text BEN to 85258 free and anonymously from all major UK networks – to find out more about Ben’s text support service, visit www.ben.org.uk/get-help/ben-s-text-support-service

Important information

Ben is there for those who work, or have worked, in the automotive industry and their family dependents. If you would benefit from some support or if someone you know might need them, get in touch via their free and confidential helpline: 08081 311 333, use their webchat at www.ben.org.uk or text BEN to 58258

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