We don’t need ‘Blue Monday’ to talk about depression
You may see some chatter online or media coverage labelling today ‘Blue Monday’. If you haven’t already heard, the third Monday of January is supposedly the most depressing day of the year. Many call it that due to the period in which the day falls; with the festive season firmly over, potential bills on the way and payday still weeks off, it really can be a difficult time for a lot of us – but many have an issue with Blue Monday, stemming from its origin.
The day itself appeared around 2005 as part of a marketing ploy from a UK travel agency who claimed to have calculated the most depressing day of the year using an “equation”. The reality is that while January can be a difficult period for many, especially factoring in the re-introduction of lockdown restrictions, the idea that a specific day is more depressing than others is a complete myth.
Making a big push to promote mental health awareness and urging people to seek help for depression on a singular day, misses the mark. Not only might it be disrespectful to people suffering from depression, suggesting that it is temporary and experienced by everyone, but that the media and PR efforts make a misguided push to promote mental health awareness for just one day, isn’t helpful – depression doesn’t just come and go.
Things like seasonal affective disorder can leave you feeling down during the winter months, but it’s important to recognize that we need to facilitate this conversation every day. While coverage of the issues and the spread of positivity and acknowledgment of mental health is wonderful, it's important that we all take away from today that there are steps to take year-round in order to protect one another. So don’t just reach out to each other because everyone is putting #BlueMonday on social media, reach out to each other for support whenever you need it.
If you need support or know someone who does, freephone the Samaritans 24/7 on 116 123.