Tuesday, 17 January 2023: This week stars of BBC One’s hit show ‘The Traitors’, Rayan Rachedi and Maddy Smedley, joined St John Ambulance for an important discussion on mental health and wellbeing on Instagram Live. 

Hoping to help break some of the stigmas surrounding mental health, The Traitors stars discussed and debunked the notion of, ‘Blue Monday’, considered to be the most depressing day of the year, and spoke candidly about their own mental health experiences – signposting those listening to the support St John Ambulance, and other organisations, can offer people when they're struggling. 

‘The Traitors’ was the BBC game show that had the nation hooked this winter – surpassing 28 million streams on BBC iPlayer and achieving the second highest audience figures for the BBC last Christmas. During the programme Rayan Rachedi and Maddy Smedley were placed in high pressure, difficult and emotional environments – so were well qualified to discuss the importance of managing mental health and the value of having open and honest discussions. 

Throughout the Instagram Live, the popular pair spoke about the support they were offered behind the scenes during the programme, including access to a psychiatrist. They touched on elements they found difficult when filming, including how they were unable to speak about the show with other contestants once microphones were turned off.  

Maddy said: “We really wanted to talk because it's such an important way to let out your stress - and sharing is caring! Eventually on about day three we were allowed to talk to one another – but only about things like the weather.” 

Taking audience questions, Maddy and Rayan also touched upon some of the coping mechanisms they use when they’re feeling low or when they’re under pressure. 

Maddy said: “Make sure you talk to your friends, or talk to the people you work with, and even if you feel like you have said too much – it's just so important to let it all out so you can get the support you need. Better days are out there.” 

St John provides mental health first training alongside its physical first aid.  The charity also runs several free youth programmes for those aged 5-25, teaching mental health awareness, resilience and signs to look out for.  

As a St John Ambulance First Aider himself, Rayan spoke about the benefits volunteering can have on mental health and encouraged those listening to consider roles in their community. 

Rayan, who has vaccinated hundreds of people throughout the pandemic, and volunteered at events like Wimbledon, London Marathon and even helped support the Queen’s funeral, said: “When you’re volunteering you are out there helping people. Being able to help people have a better day, if they’re injured or need first aid, is really rewarding - just knowing you’re making a difference to people.” 

You can catch up on the full discussion below or on St John Ambulance’s Instagram account here. 

For future interesting talks like this and the latest St John news or events, make sure you’re following St John Ambulance’s across social media too – Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.