Blue Monday is an awareness day which receives a lot of attention each year. And not always for the right reasons.
It falls on the third Monday in January (the 15th this year) and it’s been around for almost 20 years.
But where did it originate from?
Let’s turn back the clock…
In a bid to encourage people to book holidays, a travel company decided to come up with the ‘most depressing’ day of the year.
They asked a psychologist to come up with a formula, which he did. He looked at factors like weather, debt, and post-holiday slumps.
And then the travel company launched Blue Monday.
How did people react to Blue Monday?
There’s definitely some logic behind the date chosen, as all sorts of changes in the winter can make us feel sadder. Even simple factors such as being able to get outside less due to the weather.
This is especially true for those with Seasonal Affective Disorder (around 3% of people, rising to 20% of those with major depressive disorder and 25% of those with bipolar disorder).
And it’s also a prime opportunity to talk about mental health and wellbeing, which is always important.
The fact Blue Monday was essentially launched as a PR stunt has been criticised. It’s also been dismissed as pseudoscience, and even the psychologist who came up with the formula has now distanced himself from the concept.
And it’s clear that a focus on mental health needs to be year-round, not concentrated on one day in January. One in four of us experience a diagnosable condition, and most of us will have a wellbeing dip. Both last longer than 24 hours!
Year-round, it’s important for our care teams to keep wellbeing at the forefront of their minds – especially as a third of people with physical long-term health conditions go on to develop a mental health condition too.
And of course, we’re also acutely aware of the impact working in care could have on our teams’ emotional health.
So, Blue Monday may be a little bit more stunt than science. But we can still use it as a way to highlight the importance of mental health.