Rethink Blue Monday

Blue Monday, supposedly ‘the most depressing day of the year’ has rolled around yet again. 

Let me be clear: Blue. Monday. Is. Bullshit. 

I’ve written about this before, here  and  here  and here  and here  and here  and here , so apologies for saying it yet again, but the very notion of a mathematically-predictable universally-applicable ‘most depressing day of the year’ is just rubbish. Its creator, Dr Cliff Arnall, devised it for a travel company in order to sell more holidays  and even he admits that it’s completely meaningless. 

But it’s not just the fact that it’s terrible science that Blue Monday should be encased in concrete and dumped far out in the North Sea. The very notion of Blue Monday can be actively harmful to people’s understanding of mental health. 

Part of the Blue Monday ‘equation’ acknowledges that external, environmental factors can impact your mental health in tangible, negative ways. That, in fairness, is completely accurate. However, everyone’s life and experiences are radically, fantastically different, even if they share the same house/job/parents/etc. That’s just how life works. It’s virtually impossible to determine all the factors that will affect someone’s mental health, especially in advance!

Blue Monday insists otherwise, stating confidently that science can predict, map, calculate and apply all the factors that determine mood and mental health, easily and reliably. That’s so wrong as to be genuinely alarming.

Similarly, implying that a bout of depression can be over and done with in 24 hours, as much of the Blue Monday coverage implies, can only lead to the idea that those who deal with it can, and should, ‘get better’, and rapidly. When they inevitably don’t, those who expected them to can be left perplexed and annoyed.

I’ve tried to ignore Blue Monday, really I have, but unfortunately Blue Monday isn’t a wasp. You can’t just ignore it and hope that it goes away. So seeing as it looks like it’s here to stay, I thought that maybe at least we could use it to do something positive. 

Rethink Mental Illness is an incredible charity working to deliver better lives for people severely affected by mental illness. With a network of over 140 local support groups up and down the country, the charity offers a welcoming, non-judgemental space for people to talk about their experiences and get peer support.

If you hear a friend or colleague talking or posting about Blue Monday, or see uncritical mainstream coverage of it, send those responsible the link to this page and ask them to Rethink. Not only will you help them understand why Blue Monday is bullshit, but you’ll be helping to raise money to support the important work that Rethink Mental Illness do all year round to help those living with mental health illness. 

And if they refuse to make a donation (which is probably quite likely), perhaps consider making one of your own? To help Rethink and others like them ‘address the balance’, so to speak. 

Blue Monday was created to make money, after all. And if we can’t get rid of it, why not help redirect it, so it makes money for something actually useful?

[This material was adapted in part from Dean Burnett’s Blue Monday article for the Cosmic Shambles Network ]

Donations ()

  • Catherine Ward 
    • £10 
    • 20 d
  • Clair McCowlen 
    • £5 
    • 29 d
  • Anonymous 
    • £20 
    • 1 mo
  • Shaun Lawrence 
    • £10 
    • 1 mo
  • Anonymous 
    • £10 
    • 1 mo
See all

Fundraising team: Rethink Blue Monday (2)

Dean Burnett 
Raised £265 from 25 donations
Cardiff, Wales, United Kingdom
Rethink Mental Illness 
Registered nonprofit
Donations eligible for Gift Aid.
Learn more
James Ward 
Team member
Raised £80 from 4 donations
This team raised £235 from 20 other donations.
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