We’re sure you’re familiar with ‘Blue Monday’, a day, usually the third Monday in January, coined as ‘the most depressing day of the year’. Generally referred to in association to the weather, debt levels, time since Christmas and the fact that most of us may have by now failed our New Year’s resolutions. Aside from the rather damaging fact that there’s about as much science in that formula as there is nutritional value in processed cheese, the phenomenon was actually created as an advertising ploy.
Back in 2005, a holiday company invented ‘Blue Monday’ as a way to sell summer holidays. They created the “most depressing day of the year” to convince consumers that they need something to look forward to. The perfect solution to this is of course a holiday, which just so happens to be significantly reduced in this January sale said company was running at the time. What a coincidence.
Why is Blue Monday such an issue?
The biggest problem is that it suggests that depression can be linked to logic. It rationalises the causes of depression and doesn’t portray the real picture, which is that depression can affect anyone, anytime, no matter the circumstances.
Blue Monday also reduces feelings of depression to a single day, when it is a serious condition that affects people every day of the year. Mind’s #BlueAnyDay campaign focuses on this exact issue, with their Head of Information Stephen Buckley speaking out on the issue:
“Blue Monday contributes to damaging misconceptions about depression and trivialises an illness that can be life threatening. 1 in 6 people will experience depression during their life. It can be extremely debilitating with common symptoms including inability to sleep, seeing no point in the future, feeling disconnected from other people and experiencing suicidal thoughts.
What should we be focusing on instead?
Instead of buying into the commercialism of this one day, Blue Monday offers us a chance to engage in conversations surrounding the wider issue of Mental Health.
As a company catering to men’s style needs, we’re especially passionate about promoting open and honest conversations about men’s mental health. We’re only too aware that the stigma around men’s mental health is still unnecessarily prevalent, although as a society we are making positive steps towards bringing these barriers down.
Blue Monday provides us with an opportunity to ask how our friends and family are feeling, not just for this one day, but all the time. We know this can be a difficult conversation to have, but it really can be as simple as letting a loved one know you’re there for them, if they need to talk. That reassurance that it’s ok not to be ok is huge for somebody who may be struggling in silence.
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