Railway mental health campaign hopes to lift spirits amidst rising concerns over the impact of the pandemic on people’s mental health

Published on: Wednesday, 11 May 2022
Last updated: Wednesday, 11 May 2022

Hertford East station hosted a wildlife display and cake giveaway to brighten people’s journeys during Mental Health Awareness Week.

Community Rail Officer, Katie Goldthorpe and Val Male, Principal Rail Officer, Hertfordshire County Council, with the display at Hertford East station

The New River Line Community Rail Partnership teamed up with Mudlarks charity and mental health charity, H’arts in Mind, to support passengers as part of Network Rail and the wider industry’s 'Brighter Journeys' campaign on 9 May.

They decorated the station concourse with a wildlife display and gave away brownies to create a warm welcome to people as they passed through.

The Brighter Journeys campaign aims to help make rail stations feel brighter and happier for passengers returning to the railway since the lifting of Covid restrictions by bringing the great outdoors inside, with bursts of colourful flowers in bloom greeting passengers as they embark on their journeys.

The aim is that these sensory installations act as a pleasant surprise which lift people’s spirits and put smiles on their faces as they head to work or for days out with their family.

Research shows that interacting with nature puts people in a more positive mindset and makes them feel more grounded and calm*.

This campaign uses the power of nature to make people feel happier and more connected to their local railway station, while raising awareness of the Hub of Hope app which signposts people to support services if they are struggling with their mental health.

The campaign comes in light of new ONS data which reports that more than a third of adults (35%) said they were ‘very’ or ‘somewhat’ worried about the effect of the pandemic on their lives ‘right now’*.

Katie Goldthorpe, New River Line Community Rail Officer, said, “We worked with Mudlarks last year to create lovely planters at the entrance the station and it was great to get together again to put a smile on passengers’ faces and highlight the mental health help that is available locally.

“Mental Health Awareness Week is a timely reminder of the need to take care of ourselves and each other. That’s why we’re supporting Brighter Journeys and encouraging passengers who may be struggling, to share and download the Hub of Hope app.”

Jake Mills, founder of Chasing the Stigma and Hub of Hope app, added: “It is great to be working with Network Rail on the Brighter Journey’s campaign. Nature is really important for mental health, so we hope commuters enjoy seeing these floral installations and they puts a smile on people’s faces.

“We also hope that this acts as a reminder that no one is ever alone, and mental health support is available at any time, you don’t have to be in crisis to get help. If anyone is struggling or knows someone who needs help, please download the Hub of Hope app.”

Brighter Journeys will signpost people to share and download the Hub of Hope app if they or someone they know are struggling with their mental health.

The Hub of Hope is a free app that connects people to more than 4,000+ mental health support services and groups across the UK. It is available on iPhone, Android and on their website and directs people to the nearest relevant local support using either the postcode typed in by the user or the location of the web browser or mobile device.

Searches can be filtered by specific concern/type of support required, for example peer-to-peer groups, NHS or voluntary groups. For those needing immediate help, the app has a ‘Need Help Now?’ button that connects users directly to Samaritans or Crisis Text Line’s messaging service.