The ‘Blue Monday’ Myth
The infamous ‘Blue Monday’ falls annually on the third Monday of January marking the breaking point of New Year’s Resolutions, the beginning of a large amount of debt due to holiday spending, low motivations, cold and gloomy weather — all factors that can leave someone feeling not-so cheery.
Although the idea of Blue Monday was orchestrated by a travel company to motivate solemn people into escaping their reality by getting on a plane and vacationing, it has caused a phenomenon that puts a detrimental perspective on actually feeling depressed despite what day it is.
COVID-19 Wave 2 Impacts
It’s fair to say that there are a lot of other reasons, besides a silly date, why thousands of people are experiencing a negative headspace this side of the holiday season.
The second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic continues to dominate our everyday lives and Canadians are feeling more anxious than ever about their personal health, finances, having enough food to feed their families, losing their jobs, being separated from loved ones, vaccine effectiveness and being safe from domestic violence happening behind closed doors.¹
40% of Canadians have said their mental health has deteriorated since the onset of the pandemic with 61% living with a pre-existing mental condition, 61% unemployed and 60% are 18 – 24 years old.
The eroded social life of Canadians due to provincial/territorial restrictions and mandates has impacted 48% of Canadians reporting high levels of anxiety/worry as a result of COVID-19, as well as stress (38%), sadness (25%) and depression (24%).
Despite all of these factors weighing heavily on the hearts and minds of thousands of people, a recent UBC survey shows that people are not reaching out for help.
With Blue Monday being a complete myth — depression, anxiety and the effects of mental health are not.
Taking Back Blue Monday
Mental illness matters every day of the year. If you are suffering in silence or know an individual or family in need of support, please guide them to the following resources.
CMHA Calgary’s Capable Carers therapeutic group is a place where family members can get support when their loved one is impacted by mental illness. This 8-week closed group will explore some topics such as self-care, boundaries, communication, grief and loss, crisis recovery, etc. It is a place where participants can openly discuss and share experiences, empathetically connect with others, and create a sense of hope.
Life After Loss
The Life after Loss group is facilitated by experienced CMHA Calgary counsellors. Individuals will receive knowledge about the grief process, in an environment they can create connections with others to develop a network of support. Groups take place once a week over an 8-week period, several times per year. Fees are based on a sliding scale. No one is refused service due to financial reasons. Registration and previous one-on-one sessions with one of our counsellors is required.
For more information or to register for Capable Carers or Life After Loss, please phone 403-297-1708 or email email@example.com.
Suicide Bereavement Drop-In
This group, facilitated by a peer volunteer survivor and a CMHA counsellor, provides a confidential and safe space for those who have experienced a loss by suicide to share, network and meet others who can understand and provide support. Individuals are supported through their loss, in an environment, they can create connections with others to develop a network of support.
CMHA’s Peer Support service provides the opportunity for anyone – individual, family member or professional – looking for a connection with others, who is new to the mental health and/or addiction community, or looking for information about a mental health diagnosis, the chance to speak with someone with lived experience.
Peer support program services can still be accessed over the phone at 403-297-1402 or through email at firstname.lastname@example.org. The emails and phone calls will be responded to in a timely manner based on volume received between the hours of 11 am – 3 pm on Mondays, Wednesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays, and 1 pm – 7 pm on Tuesdays.
If you are aware of someone who is thinking of suicide and you don’t know how to approach the situation, please watch this video on how to talk to someone in this headspace from our community partner, Centre for Suicide Prevention.
If you are having suicidal thoughts and need help, call The 24/7 toll-free Canada Suicide Prevention Service at 1-833-456-4566 or text 45645 (text available 2:00 pm – 10:00pm MT)
If you are in an emergency and do not have a trusted person to help you, please call 911.
It’s easy to fall into a routine of feeling low and labelling it as something that it’s not. Reaching out for help is normal and should not be stigmatized.
As Blue Monday comes and goes for yet another year, remember that it’s okay not to be okay.
The survey was dispatched by Maru/Matchbox from September 14-21, 2020 to a representative sample of 3,027 people ages 18 and up living in Canada.
It is the second of three strategic waves of national surveying that is also aligned with work being conducted by the Mental Health Foundation in the U.K.
To access a complete summary of the findings, please click here.