Blue Monday 'Trivialises Depression'
Monday, 15th January 2018
Blue Monday is traditionally thought to be ‘the most depressing day of the year’ - a day when people are feeling flat after Christmas, have racked up some debt over the festive season, or, are simply fed up with bad weather and long, dark evenings.
But mental health charities and campaigners say this feeling of being generally low happens for many people at the beginning of the year, and doesn’t necessarily mean they are suffering from depression.
Stephen Buckley, head of information at the charity, Mind, said: “There is no credible evidence to suggest that one day in particular can increase the risk of people feeling depressed and suggesting as such contributes to damaging misconceptions about depression, trivialising a potentially life-threatening illness.
“One in six people will experience depression during their life. It can be extremely debilitating with common symptoms including feeling down, empty or numb, having no self-esteem, finding no pleasure in the things you usually enjoy or experiencing suicidal thoughts.
“There are certain things that may contribute to people feeling down at this time of year, such as post-Christmas financial strains, broken New Year’s resolutions, bad weather and short daylight hours. However, depression is not just a one-day event and can happen at any time.”
Mental health charities have grown more vocal in recent years about Blue Monday being used as a means of highlighting depression, because it trivialises the struggle that many depressed people experience daily.
It also compounds the stereotype that depression isn’t very serious; that it is something which individuals should or even can just ‘snap out of’. The statistics for depression in the UK paints a very different picture. Mr Buckley said: “One in four of us will experience a mental health problem in any given year, which can occur at any time for a number of reasons.”
Mr Buckley has advice for anyone who has serious concerns about feeling low, depressed or their mental health in general. He said: “If you are concerned about yourself or a loved one then seeking support is one of the most important things you can do.
“Our website has information on depression including tips for helping yourself and guidance for friends and family. You might also find it helpful to talk to your GP, who can give you further information and discuss treatment options.
“Going to see your GP might seem daunting but it could be the first step to getting the help and support that’s right for you.”
Mind has also produced a guide to help people speak to their GP about mental health. You can visit mind.org.uk/findthewords or call the Mind Infoline on 0300 123 3393 for more information.