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Let’s talk about Blue Monday

As I’m writing this, it is allegedly the most depressing, miserable day of the year, Blue Monday.

Honestly, today doesn’t feel very different to me than any other Monday; I still growled at my alarm this morning, I still had one too many cups of tea, and I still smiled when I sat down at my desk to start my day.

So what’s the deal with Blue Monday, you ask? According to Cliff Arnall, a former lecturer at Cardiff University, the third Monday in January is the most depressing day of the year. Arnall used a pseudo-mathematical formula that involved weather, debt, time since Christmas, motivation, deadlines and the amount of time since New Year’s resolutions were made.  Basically, today sucks because our Christmas trees are put away, we’ve already broken our New Year’s resolutions, it’s (very) cold outside and your bank account is feeling the after-effects of Christmas.

But as Snopes reports, there’s no science to this claim. Arnall was paid by a travel company to conduct the study, so his intentions are questionable, and even more importantly, true clinical depression is much more complicated; it’s influenced by a multitude of chronic and temporary and internal and external factors.  It’s impossible for a select number of external factors to cause depression in all of us at the same time every year.

While many of us are probably feeling a post-Christmas slump, I think it’s important to recognize Blue Monday for what it is—a clever marketing ploy.

Now that I’ve (maybe too passionately) ranted about Blue Monday, I want to tell you about another day that’s focused on mental health, Bell Let’s Talk day, which is coming up on January 27. Bell Let’s Talk is a charitable program dedicated to mental health. It focuses on ending the stigma of mental illness, improving accessibility for mental health-related services, encouraging mental health in the workplace and funding research in the mental health field.

One of the best ways to wipe out the stigma of mental illness is to talk about it. Bell Let’s Talk day encourages you to do just that, and adds a financial reward, too. For every tweet with #BellLetsTalk and every Facebook share of the Bell Let’s Talk image, Bell will donate five cents to mental health initiatives in Canada.

So I encourage you to be social that day, on your Twitter and Facebook accounts, and with your friends, family, co-workers and bosses, too. Talking can feel scary, especially at work, but it doesn’t have to be. This video captures it perfectly.

Talking is the first step towards meaningful change and building greater awareness, acceptance and action.  You may not believe me and you might feel completely alone in this, but mental health impacts all of us, and we need to address it. It’s time to talk.

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