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.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Lake Flashback: New editor, new design, and recurring vandalism

Changes at Lake Cowichan papers and damage to business and services a theme in late March

Drivesmart column: Are we perpetuating mediocrity with how we teach young drivers?

If the teacher is ill equipped to teach, the new driver will not learn what is necessary

B.C. firefighters only responding to most life-threatening calls during COVID-19 pandemic

The directive comes after province spoke with paramedics, fire services, according to top doctor

Cowichan Valley Public Art Gallery sharing wealth of online art

The CVPAG page will feature new artists and galleries every two weeks

‘Better days will return’: Queen Elizabeth delivers message amid COVID-19 pandemic

The Queen said crisis reminds her of her first address during World War II in 1940

List of cancelled Cowichan Valley community events

An ongoing list of events that have been cancelled in the Cowichan Valley due to COVID-19

Emergency aid portal opens Monday, cash could be in bank accounts by end of week: Trudeau

Emergency benefit will provide $2,000 a month for those who have lost their income due to COVID-19

Education, not enforcement: B.C. bylaw officers keeping a watch on physical distancing

A kind word, it turns out, has usually been all people need to hear

COVID-19: Hospitals remain safe for childbirth, say Vancouver Island care providers

North Island Hospital has been asked to share its perinatal COVID-19 response plan

Canadian cadets to mark 103rd anniversary of Vimy Ridge April 9 virtually

Idea of Captain Billie Sheridan in Williams Lake, B.C. who wondered what to do in times of COVID-19

B.C. VIEWS: Pandemic shows need for adequate care home staffing

Seniors in B.C. care homes face challenging times

QUIZ: How much do you know about hockey?

Take this test and find out how well you know Canada’s most popular winter sport

Most Read