Blue Monday was just a marketing ploy, says Canadian Mental Health Association. (Unsplash)

‘Blue Monday’ isn’t real, but depression can be

CMHA encourages people to prioritize their mental health

The “most depressing day of the year” has arrived.

Blue Monday – the third Monday in January – is said to be bleak a day for many due to weather, post-holiday debt levels, failing new years resolutions, the stress of going back to work and the general lack of motivation some people experience after time off.

But the Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA) debunked the “Blue Monday” myth, saying the formula used to determine this date as “the most depressing” is based on pseudo-science conducted for a travel company.

That doesn’t mean Canadians are immune to winter blues – they just might not always be caused by winter.

Sarah Hamid-Balma, director of mental health promotion for the Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA) BC division, said even if “Blue Monday” isn’t real, it’s important to talk about mental health any time of the year.

RELATED: Mental health video marks two years since death of B.C. bull rider Ty Pozzobon

RELATED: Could smartphones spot teen depression?

For those experiencing a low mood, Hamid-Balma says people should should look at their mental health history: “Is it every winter? is there a pattern with that? Are there other things going on in your life that might explain the depression?”

“It’s important to note that depression can happen any time of year, and you can get depression in the winter that isn’t seasonal affective disorder (SAD) – you might be going through major stress or loss or grief and it’s more coincidentally happening in this season.”

In fact Hamid-Balma says SAD – a form of depression associated with winter and autumn seasons and the lack of sunlight that comes with them – is extremely rare.

SAD involves patterns of major depressive episodes that impact a person’s ability to do daily activities and often comes with symptoms of fatigue, weight changes and loss of interest in things a person typically enjoys.

“Most people think that it’s really common, but actually, only two to three per cent of people have the clinical definition of SAD where they need professional treatment,” she said, adding that around fifteen per cent of people may find their mood impacted by long periods of rain or overcast weather.

“But that still leaves more than 80 per cent of people who are doing okay.”

RELATED: Doctors pen ‘social prescriptions’ to ease depression, loneliness in patients

So how can people know if their low mood is a “winter blah” or something more serious?

Hamid-Balma encourages people to get help at any time if they feel like they need it but says two weeks is generally a good test to find out how deep-rooted your low mood is.

“We all have bad weeks but if it’s not going away on its own and it’s impacting your ability to live your life then it’s worth checking out,” she said. “Two weeks is a good measurement with the normal ups and downs of life…”

No matter your love or disdain for winter months, Hamid-Balma recommends exercise, social support and outdoor-time to strengthen mental health.

CMHA offers a number of resources for anyone with questions about mental health. Crisis Service Canada has a hotline available 24/7 at 1-833-456-4566.


 

nina.grossman@blackpress.ca

Follow us on Instagram
Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

OP-ED: Nothing inconvenient about safe ride home

Operation Red Nose will drive you and your vehicle home in Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows.

Maple Ridge wants to push through to 240th Street

Council endorses another step for Abernethy Way extension

West Coast Express Santa Train coming to Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows

Free return ticket downtown Vancouver in exchange for donation for the Maple Ridge Pitt Meadows Christmas Hamper Society

LETTER: Nothing we do in Canada will effect climate change

Carbon tax is only mere virtue signalling.

Fashion Fridays: Ethical and sustainable gifts for the season

Kim XO, helps to keep you looking good on Fashion Fridays on the Black Press Media Network

B.C. Transit scores 28 used fareboxes on eBay, saves $300,000

‘Someone joked maybe we can buy used fareboxes on eBay,’ CEO says

Many of Canada’s working poor can’t afford lawyers, don’t qualify for legal aid

One lawyer says many people earn too much to qualify for legal aid, but not enough to really live on

Economy lost 71,200 jobs in November, unemployment rate climbs to 5.9%

Jobless rate is at its highest since August 2018, when it hit 6%

VIDEO: John Lennon’s iconic Rolls Royce rolls into Vancouver Island college for checkup

Royal BC Museum, Camosun College and Coachwerks Restorations come together to care for car

VIDEO: Rockslide closes part of Highway 93 in Fairmont Hot Springs

Geotechnical team called in to do an assessment after rocks fell from hoodoos

Chilliwack mom gives back to neonatal unit with Christmas stocking drive

Ashley Durance is paying it forward to other families and their babies following daughter’s NICU stay

Petition calls for appeal of ex-Burns Lake mayor’s sentence for sex assault

Prosecution service says Luke Strimbold’s case is under review

Northwest B.C. wildlife shelter rescues particularly tiny bear cub

Shelter co-founder says the cub weighs less than a third of what it should at this time of year

Most Read