Blue Monday is here. Designated as the third Monday in January each year, Blue Monday is known as the most depressing day of the year.
The festive period may be behind us, but with the days still short and cold and the nights drawn out and dark, January can feel like a long month. When you add in how expensive Christmas can be, and the wait for January payday, it can almost feel overwhelming.
Is Blue Monday a real thing?
Started in 2004 by psychologist Dr Cliff Arnall, he has since admitted that the formula he invented to work out Blue Monday is pseudoscience and he wants people to refute the notion of Blue Monday.
However, even with this being the case, it can be argued that Blue Monday has become a self-fulfilling prophecy. Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is a real condition that affects around two million people in the UK alone. Whilst it’s fairly arbitrary to point to any one day as being the most depressing, the evidence shows that winter causes an increase in negative mental health for people.
The importance of good mental health
In our blog published earlier this month we talked about the importance of good mental health. With mental and physical health being inextricably linked, it’s just as important to look after your mind as it is your body.
Even though they’re two separate things, a lot of the same positive actions will help both your physical and mental health, such as exercise.
With the rise in prominence of the importance of mental health, there’s been a huge growth in Mental Health First Aiders across businesses in the UK.
Mental Health First Aiders
Mental Health First Aiders are a relatively new thing, with Mental Health First Aid training launching in England in 2007. In the 16 years since its launch, MHFA England have trained nearly one million people in mental health knowledge, and over half a million Mental Health First Aiders.
Mental Health First Aiders are the first point of contact in a workplace for a person experiencing a mental health issue or some form of emotional distress. The training teaches how to recognise the warning signs of poor mental health in an individual, and how to support and guide that person to the appropriate place for their needs.
It should be noted that the existence of Mental Health First Aiders doesn’t negate the need for services such as 999, 111, or long-term treatment. Mental Health First Aiders are a first point of contact and are there to support you in a crisis.
Mental health in the workplace
There are now over 20,000 workplaces in the UK with trained Mental Health First Aiders. As of January 2022 there were 5.5 million businesses in the UK, which means just 0.3% have Mental Health First Aiders; whilst this may seem a very low figure, 16 years ago it was 0%, so it’s a big improvement.
Does your business have trained Mental Health First Aiders? If so, do you know who they are and how to contact them? Hopefully you’ll never need to, but it’s good to know just in case.
If you’re interested in becoming Mental Health First Aid trained you can find out more information by clicking here. It’s a great thing for a person to do, and you could be there for someone when they need you the most.
Time to talk
As well as all the other ways we’ve previously discussed to manage mental health, one simple trick that can work is talking to someone. That could be a Mental Health First Aider, a friend, a colleague, or a professional helpline such as the Samaritans.
We all need to look after our mental health; if we can support the mental health of others too, that’s a bonus.
Sometimes all that’s needed is an ear, so if you’re able to, keep yours available this Blue Monday.