Blue Monday is the name given to a day in January (typically the third Monday of the month) which is claimed to be the most depressing day of the year.
The concept was first publicised as part of a 2005 press release from holiday company Sky Travel, which claimed to have calculated the date using an equation*.
Some consider this to be pseudoscience, tokenism or an arbitrary attempt to keep up with the latest “buzz words”, but one agency whose helplines support people with poor mental health have told me their phones are often busiest at this time of year.
It’s not Christmas or New Years, as some would expect, but in the weeks that follow when people can really struggle.
Of course we can suffer with poor mental health at any time of the year but awareness days give us a chance to open healthy conversations.
We only have to look at how some media outlets treat celebrities who disclose poor mental health, using language that stigmatises, to understand why embracing conversations about our mood matters.
Opening a healthy dialogue about mental health can also create safe, non-judgemental spaces where people feel they can open up, especially if work plays a part.
So for that reason, I’ve offered below just a few ways you could take part:
- Hold a tea and talk in your workplace, asking the question how are you? If someone says “I’m fine” ask again, encouraging an open space where people can talk about how they feel. The Samaritans have called this ‘Brew Monday’, you can find out more here
- Wear a green ribbon that identifies that you’re open to conversations around mental health. These can be purchased from the Mental Health Foundation here You can wear these at any time of the year to let people know you’re comfortable talking about it.
- Adopt a workplace culture which recognises that mental health is health, avoiding “perfect positivity” where everyone feels they have to be smiling and happy. Allow people to feel what they feel creating spaces to talk instead. This includes embracing “introversion”, creating quiet spaces at work where people can pause and reflect if they need to, especially if they’re going through a difficult time. Here’s why I think quiet places matter too, especially at work.
What ideas do you have, to get people talking helpfully about mental health?
If you or someone you know is struggling, the Samaritans are available 24/7 on 116 123. You might also find these links useful which includes how to help someone you’re worried about, and signposts to agencies that can help, including young people
Copyright Delphi Ellis 2020
(*Source: Wikipedia https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blue_Monday_(date))