Today is known a “Blue Monday” – a date that is supposed to be the most miserable day of the year. It’s a so-called scientific formula based on likely weather, debt/money worries, post Christmas lull, the failing in new year’s resolutions, and motivational levels.
Of course anyone who either has mental health issues or knows people who do, which is all of us, will know that actually this is far too simplistic and the causes of depression and other mental health issue are far more complex. There’s a really good Guardian first person on this today. AN extract is below:
“I’ve suffered from depression on spring days when the world around me is blossoming, and on autumn days when the leaves are turning a glorious burnished copper. Depression does not discriminate – it can strike anywhere, anytime, anyone.
And it can be made worse when superficial marketing campaigns suggest it is OK to feel depressed on specific days – with the implication being “cheer up, love” the rest of the time. “
I applaud the Mind approach to create a hashtag #blueanyday but having said that I think there is still some value in days that emphasise that our mental health is something that we need to look after and that external factors can have an influence.
The other concern I have is that while emphasising seasonality can trivialise the issue at other times it also potentially means that the responsibilities of employers, councils and government are de-emphasised. There is a crisis in mental health and this needs to be addressed: whether it is that there is still not equal esteem for mental and physical health services, social care funding being bled dry or employers not understanding the importance and benefit of supporting their employee’s mental health.
In the meantime if you take anything from Blue Monday I hope it is that we should look out for each other and remember that good mental health is important for all of us.