‘There is always hope’ campaign launched as new research shows huge rise in mental health issues across Britain as a result of the pandemic: There's always hope

Thursday 11 Mar 2021

‘There is always hope’ campaign launched as new research shows huge rise in mental health issues across Britain as a result of the pandemic

Region & Route:
  • 69% of 18-24 year olds say their mental health has been negatively impacted by the pandemic
  • Almost half (48%) of all adults across Britain are struggling with their mental health
  • Network Rail launches new ‘There is Always Hope’ campaign with national mental health charity, Chasing the Stigma

Young people have seen their mental health deteriorate the most since the pandemic began, according to new research from Network Rail and national mental health charity, Chasing the Stigma.

Almost three quarters of 18-24-year-olds (69%) say that Covid-19 has had a negative impact on their mental health compared to 28% of over 65s, while nearly half of Brits (48%) agreed that their mental health has taken a hit since the pandemic began.

The research was carried out as part of Network Rail’s new There is Always Hope campaign aimed at encouraging those struggling with their mental health to seek help before they reach crisis point.

According to the study, mental health symptoms have surged among all age groups over the last 12 months, with respondents reporting increases in anxiety (40%), loneliness (31%) and depression (31%).

The study of more than 2000 GB adults by research agency Yonder, reveals that the pandemic has also had a significant impact on students, with 64% claiming it has affected their mental health, along with 65% of those who identify as being LGBT+.

The rail infrastructure giant has partnered with charity, Chasing the Stigma to create a new film which portrays a young man looking distressed and withdrawn, who finds himself surrounded by positive moments of hope as he moves through a railway station.

At the end of the film, he finds himself having a moment of connection with a fellow passenger, which leads to them striking up a conversation as they embark on their journey. By showing these moments of care and connection throughout the film, the aim is to show that no matter how desperate you may feel, there are people around you who care and there is always hope.

The film ends with a call to action encouraging people to download the Hub of Hope app if they are struggling with their mental health. The Hub of Hope app is provided by Chasing the Stigma and brings together all of the mental health support available to someone in any given area, from NHS support and national charities like Mind and Samaritans to voluntary, private and third sector services.

Andrew Haines, chief executive of Network Rail said:

“We have a huge responsibility to keep people safe and support the wellbeing of both our staff and passengers. Through this campaign, we are trying to help vulnerable people who are at risk before they even come to the rail network by signposting them towards support services through the Hub of Hope.”

Jake Mills, founder and CEO of Chasing the Stigma, is featured in the There is Always Hope film. Jake set up the charity and developed the Hub of Hope following his own suicide attempt. He realised when talking through his own personal experience that many people didn’t know where to turn within their own mental health issues and he wanted to offer support to others who found themselves in a similar situation.

Jake commented:

“Mental health has never been more important, especially as the results show the Covid-19 pandemic is having a real impact on people, particularly young adults, across the UK.

“Breaking down the stigma around mental health and giving people access to the right support at the right time, is essential as it can make such a difference, and it’s the reason why we set up the Hub of Hope.

“These are challenging times but help and support is available and there is always someone to talk too, so there is always hope.”

There were some hopeful findings however, with three in five claiming to know where to go for mental health support in a crisis (58%), two in five people saying they have saved money as a result of the pandemic (40%), and a quarter reported having been able to spend more time with loved ones (26%). Meanwhile, half of those surveyed said they were feeling hopeful about the future due to the vaccine rollout (49%).

Additional findings from the research revealed:

  • One in ten have accessed mental health support during the pandemic (9%)
  • Social isolation has been felt by almost half of respondents (43%)
  • Three quarters of those who struggled before the pandemic say their mental health has got worse (75%)
  • More than a third (36%) of those who did not struggle with their mental health prior to the pandemic have done so since it began
  • A quarter said they have had more time to devote to hobbies and interests (25%)
  • Just under half have concerns about the economy (42%)

The latest campaign forms part of the rail industry’s efforts to reduce suicides across the rail network – sadly an ongoing challenge faced by Network Rail, train operating companies and the British Transport Police. Ongoing measures are being taken to prevent such incidents from taking place, such as training thousands of industry staff and running campaigns such as Small Talk Saves Lives, which calls on people to look out for one another and intervene safely if they see someone who might need help.

There is Always Hope however, has been created with the input of suicide prevention and mental health experts to signpost those at risk of suicide towards support services much earlier on in their mental health journey, before the idea of ending their life on the railway becomes a conscious thought.

The campaign will go live on 8 March across national media outlets, social media platforms and music and podcast streaming sites (view the There is Always Hope film here). Anyone struggling with their mental health can download the Hub of Hope app. The Hub of Hope can be accessed through the app, Chasing the Stigma website or at www.hubofhope.co.uk. The app also has a Need Help Now? button that links straight through to Samaritans

Notes to Editors

For more information about Network Rail’s work to support mental health and reduce suicides, visit our website. You can find out more about the Small Talk Saves Lives campaign here.


So far this year (since April 1st 2020), there have been 1,487 interventions carried out by rail staff, members of the public and BTP officers across the GB rail network.

Contact details
Network Rail:

Lucy Jones, Senior Campaign Manager (Tuesday – Fri) – 07734649248 / lucy.jones2@networkrail.co.uk

 About the research:

Research was carried out by Yonder from 12-14 February 2021 and included 2,022 GB adults. The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all GB adults (aged 18+)


About Chasing the Stigma

Chasing the Stigma is a national charity committed to normalising mental health. We make it easy to find help through the Hub of Hope support app, we create an environment of understanding through our Ambassador of Hope training and we campaign for change, every day.

About The Hub of Hope

The Hub of Hope is the UK’s go-to mental health support signposting tool, with more than 2,000 services listed. Since its launch it has directed almost 200,000 people to life changing and life-saving help. It is free to download and use and free for organisations to register their details. Available from the App Store, Play Store and via www.hubofhope.co.uk

For further information about Chasing the Stigma visit: www.chasingthestigma.co.uk, to arrange an interview with Jake Mills or to find out more about the Hub of Hope contact: Marie Carter on 07949 029879. Chasing the Stigma can be found on Twitter @ChasingStigma, Instagram @Chasingthestigma and Facebook Chasing the Stigma


Contact information

Passengers / community members
Network Rail national helpline
03457 11 41 41

Latest travel advice
Please visit National Rail Enquiries

Network Rail press office - Lucy Jones
Senior media relations manager
Network Rail
033 0854 3835 / 07734 649248

About Network Rail

We own, operate and develop Britain's railway infrastructure; that's 20,000 miles of track, 30,000 bridges, tunnels and viaducts and the thousands of signals, level crossings and stations. We run 20 of the UK's largest stations while all the others, over 2,500, are run by the country's train operating companies.

Usually, there are almost five million journeys made in the UK and over 600 freight trains run on the network. People depend on Britain's railway for their daily commute, to visit friends and loved ones and to get them home safe every day. Our role is to deliver a safe and reliable railway, so we carefully manage and deliver thousands of projects every year that form part of the multi-billion pound Railway Upgrade Plan, to grow and expand the nation's railway network to respond to the tremendous growth and demand the railway has experienced - a doubling of passenger journeys over the past 20 years.

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Visit our online newsroom: www.networkrailmediacentre.co.uk