It has been lambasted as a complete myth, created without scientific research to mislead people starting their week.
But as thousands across Leeds today brace themselves for ‘Blue Monday’, the so-called most depressing day of the year, experts and charities are urging people to stop trivialising mental health issues.
The Leeds Samaritans are instead asking people to celebrate today as ‘Brew Monday’, by taking time out to share a cup of tea or coffee, and a chat, with a friend, colleague or loved one who might be struggling.
It comes as the YEP is also calling on people in Leeds to help combat the damaging stigma surround mental health as part of our #SpeakYourMind campaign.
Alwyne Greenbank, director of Leeds Samaritans, said: “Difficult feelings don’t work to a calendar and external circumstances are only one part of what can makes life feel overwhelming.
“Forget Blue Monday and instead join us for Brew Monday, meet up with a friend, pop into a neighbour or call us, we’ll be ready to listen to whatever you need to talk about.
“Health, family, work, relationships and money issues, or feelings of loneliness, isolation or uncertainty could be making life really tough.
“Samaritan’s ‘Brew Monday’ gives you the chance to sit down with a friend and talk to them or listen to them over a cup of tea.”
The charity is also reminding people that its helpline service with trained volunteers is open to anyone who needs it.
Meanwhile, national mental health support organisation Mind is also calling on people to ignore the ‘Blue Monday’ hype, and to take depression seriously.
On its website, the charity said: “The concept has no foundation in scientific research and, here at Mind, we think it’s dangerously misleading.
“Those of us who live with depression know that those feelings aren’t dictated by the date.
“Implying that they are perpetuates the myth that depression is just ‘feeling a bit down’, something that doesn’t need to be taken seriously.”
Instead, the organisation is asking people to use the #Blueanyday hashtag on social media, to show that people can feel depressed on any day of the year.
For help, or to talk to someone about issues, contact the Samaritans’ free help-line 24/7 on 116 123.