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

World Community Film Festival returns to Kelowna

The festival celebrates its 16th anniversary

Line-up for Kelowna Fan Experience 2019 to be announced

The line-up will be announced Feb. 22

2019’s “status quo” budget accepted cautiously by Kelowna Chamber

“(This budget) is to appeal to an NDP base.”

Teresa May talent agency opens in Kelowna

The agency will be holding an all ages open casting event Feb. 24

Niedermayer jersey retirement ceremony a dream come true

Penticton minor hockey players bring home memories of a lifetime from Niedermayer jersey retirement

Students give two thumbs up to no more B.C. student loan interest

Eliminating the loan interest charges could save the average graduate $2,300 over 10 years

Ontario man accused of killing 11-year-old daughter dies in hospital, police say

Roopesh Rajkumar had been hospitalized with what police described as a self-inflicted gunshot wound

Larch Hills junior skiers top Teck BC Midget Championships

Multiple top-five finishes contribute to aggregate team trophy

Manitoba ‘pauses’ link with ex-B.C. premier Gordon Campbell after allegations

Campbell had been hired to review two major hydro projects

Heritage minute features Japanese-Canadian baseball team, internment

The Vancouver Asahi baseball team won various championships across the Pacific Northwest

UPDATE: Woman, off-duty cop in critical condition after stabbing outside B.C. elementary school

The officer was interceding in an alleged assault when he and the woman were stabbed

Vehicle fire on Coquihalla near Kamloops

A large plume of smoke could be seen rising into the sky over Highway 5

Pool plans disappoint Shuswap swim clubs

Salmon Arm mayor assures options for city rec centre only preliminary

$10-a-day child care not in 2019 budget, but advocate not irked

Sharon Gregson with the Coalition of Child Care Advocates of B.C. says NDP on track to deliver promise

Most Read