In the days before the pseudo-science of the Covid deniers and anti-vaxxers, Blue Monday was dreamt up by marketing executives.
They came up with a formula which suggested the third Monday of January is the most depressing of the year.
Supposedly this is because people’s Christmas credit card bills are in, it is still dark and cold outside and payday feels so far away.
Truth be told the reason they came up with the formula is so companies could sell more bath bombs and other so-called wellness products.
But, despite the commercial intention, it is a day which is firmly on the calendar as one where people focus on wellbeing and that can only be a good thing.
If you aren’t depressed before Blue Monday then it is very unlikely it is going to affect you in that way.
But if you know someone who is depressed and you think might be struggling through the dark winter then make a point to talk to them and ask how they are doing.
If they say they are fine then ask twice, because humans seem fundamentally programmed to always say they are fine even if they aren’t.
Don’t do it because it is Blue Monday but do it because it is okay to talk about mental health on all days of the year.
Make tomorrow the starting point of a regular conversation where you see how they are doing and you can share how you are feeling too.
And if they send a message asking how you are then understand they are probably not just being polite. They do want to know how you are but they also want to be asked how they are doing. They want to start that conversation.
I’m a firm believer that the saying “It’s okay to not be okay” is absolutely bollocks.
Instead, if you are feeling depressed, my suggestion is the phrase should be “It’s okay to get help if you are not feeling okay”.
Why? Because it is.
It is obviously okay to acknowledge that you are not feeling okay but no-one wants to see you suffer.
You are loved and valued and, even though it might not seem like it at times, your friends are really willing to listen and want to help you.
If you have an understanding doctor then that will help you a lot too. If your doctor doesn’t understand mental health issues then my best advice is to see a different one.
And there are also lots of crisis lines you can call run by charities with advisers who are trained and ready to listen.
Samaritans is obviously the most well-known one in the UK – and available by calling 116 123 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or by webchat or writing a letter.
But there are others including the Papyrus hopeline, for under-35’s. It is available by calling 08000 684141.
And you can find some others via the NHS website.
Stay safe for another week!