Busting the Blue Monday myth

For almost 20 years, the third Monday in January has been ‘Blue Monday’ – the most depressing day of the year.

It’s now a well-known day (falling on January 15th this year), but not everyone supports the concept. Critics generally cite its origins as a sales technique designed by a holiday company.

A psychologist designed the formula to decide which day people were most likely to feel sad or stressed. The travel firm then launched the day, encouraging people to book their next holiday to ‘beat the blues’.

The formula was based on various factors including the weather, breaking New Year’s Resolutions and debt after Christmas.

How was Blue Monday received?

The publicity stunt came in for lots of criticism, and even the psychologist has now distanced himself from the formula. Others believe it minimises the long-lasting impact of mental ill health, and that concerns over people’s wellbeing should never be used for corporate reasons.

However, it’s not all one-sided.

There are some reasons why people are more likely to experience a dip in their mood in January. Poor weather has an impact as well as changes like being outside less, hormonal impacts and altered sleeping habits being more likely in the winter.

This is especially true for those who struggle with Seasonal Affective Disorder, which accounts for up to 3% of the global population. This number rises to around 20% of those with major depressive disorder and 25% of people with bipolar disorder.

We should also celebrate any awareness-raising campaign which has got people talking about mental health.

But we must also recognise that people with diagnosable conditions experience the impacts all year round. Those struggling with their wellbeing are also likely to do so for much longer than one day sadly.

A year-round consideration

Mental health is something we’re acutely aware of at Komplex Health, especially given a third of people with a long-term physical health condition will go on to develop a problem such as anxiety or depression.

And with one in four of the general population impacted, it’s important to be confident of the potential signs and symptoms. Not just on Blue Monday. It’s an obligation to do so every day of the year.