Blue Monday or to anyone who suffers from mental health illnesses, it's just Monday.
But did you know that Blue Monday has been debunked as pseudoscience? It was a PR campaign by Sky Travel, here at WeAreASSIF we are all about shedding light on anything that we believe can have a detrimental effect on mental health. Truth be said it was only when researching this topic that we ourselves discovered the origins of the day.
So Blue Monday is a name given to a day in January (typically the third Monday of the month) claimed to be the most depressing day of the year. The concept was first publicised as part of a 2005 press release from holiday company Sky Travel, which claimed to have calculated the date using an equation. It takes into account weather conditions and thus only applies to the Northern Hemisphere.
This date was published in a press release under the name of Cliff Arnall, at the time a tutor at the Centre for Lifelong Learning, a Further Education centre attached to Cardiff University. Guardian columnist Ben Goldacre reported that the press release was delivered substantially pre-written to a number of academics by public relations agency Porter Novelli, who offered them money to put their names to it. The Guardian later printed a statement from Cardiff University distancing themselves from Arnall: "Cardiff University has asked us to point out that Cliff Arnall... was a former part-time tutor at the university but left in February."
Variations of the story have been repeatedly reused by other companies in press releases, with 2014 seeing Blue Monday invoked by legal firms and retailers of bottled water and alcoholic drinks. Some versions of the story purport to analyse trends in social media posts to calculate the date.
In 2018, Arnall told The Independent newspaper that it was "never his intention to make the day sound negative", but rather "to inspire people to take action and make bold life decisions". It was also reported that he was working with Virgin Atlantic and Virgin Holidays, having "made it his mission to challenge some of the negative news associated with January and to debunk the melancholic mind-set of "Blue Monday".
So there you have it folks, lets not fall into the trap and let a PR Campaign take over our mindset. Let's reclaim #bluemonday and turn it into #brewmonday. We're going to get the kettle on, and if you want to join us at the WeAreASSIF office for a brew, just holler at us.
Much love xxx
If you’ve been having suffering today, or you know somebody who is, these are the numbers to call to get some help.
Samaritans: 116 123
CALM: 0800 58 58 58
Papyrus (for those under 35): 0800 068 41 41
Childline (for children and young people under 19): 0800 1111
The Silver Line (for the elderly): 0800 4 70 80 90