Blue Monday trivialises depression

Blue SparkyNational mental health charity Richmond Fellowship has hit out against ‘Blue Monday’ for trivialising depression and other mental health problems.

Blue Monday – the third Monday in January – has become known as the most depressing day of the year in mainstream media with the day being attributed to returning to work after the Christmas break and the cold weather.

But with one in ten people living with a clinical diagnosis of depression, Richmond Fellowship, which is part of new national group Recovery Focus, is taking steps to remind people about the reality of living with a mental health problem every day of the year not just ‘Blue Monday’.

Joe Redmond, managing director of Richmond Fellowship (north), said: “It’s vital that people take depression and other mental health problems seriously.

“Whilst we welcome any opportunity that raises awareness of depression and makes people more comfortable talking about it, the suggestion that depression can be caused by cold weather trivialises mental health problems and is a set back to everyone’s work to tackle stigma. It’s important that people know about the realities of depression and where to go for advice and support.”

Matthew Webb, a community link worker with Richmond Fellowship, has experienced depression in the past and believes more conversations and greater action are needed.

He said: “Having a single day devoted to talking about the topic is simply not enough, we should be talking about it every day, or even every couple of days – we owe it to the man down the street who is more likely to take his own life because he’s under 45, or that someone in our life who has just lost a loved one.

“For those who suffer from depression, every day is Blue Monday – let’s get communities, those who use hash tags on social media and influential public figures on our side to speak out.”

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