A MENTAL health expert has spoken out on so-called ‘Blue Monday’ and how depression can strike regardless of the time of year.

The third Monday of every January is often referred to by marketing organisations as the most depressing day of the year, however Karen Arrowsmith, training lead for Lancashire Mind, believes that this does not give a condition as significant as depression the seriousness it merits.

This is especially the case given the stresses people have faced over the last year due to the coronavirus pandemic and ensuing lockdown.

Ms Arrowsmith said: “The idea that there’s one specific day of the year when you're most likely to be depressed, trivialises a mental health condition that can be debilitating for people who experience it.

“We can experience poor mental health at any time of year.

“It could be argued that poor mental health is one of the greatest public health challenges facing our generation, even more so after the devastating effect Covid-19 has had on our lives.

“The effect of the pandemic over the past year on people’s work situation has caused many people to experience mental health conditions for the first time.

“It has also brought into sharp focus the role employers need to take in looking after the mental health and wellbeing of their workforce.”

In response, organisations like Lancashire Mind are working to raise awareness about mental health and the help that is available for people should they need it, with special events planned for later this year.

Ms Arrowsmith said: “It is important to raise awareness and to encourage people to hold conversations about mental health.

“Days like Time to Talk day on 4 February, are a good starting point for organisations and businesses to begin to embed positive mental health practices into their workplace.”

She added: “Lancashire Mind work with businesses and organisations to help build, understand and achieve their wellbeing strategy.

“Our ‘Time to Talk About Wellbeing at Work’ conference, being held virtually this year on 4 February, enables employers to share good practice and learn new strategies to improve emotional wellbeing in the workplace.”

Meanwhile John Pears, UK Managing Director of Lowell has also spoken about the importance of reaching out.

He said: “We know that Blue Monday can be difficult for anyone struggling this time of year.

"It’s important to speak to someone about how you’re feeling, especially in lockdown.

"Reach out to a loved one or a friend and schedule a chat, or get help and support with organisations like the Samaritans and Mind.

"Something as simple as speaking on the phone to someone can really help.”

Lancashire Mind’s Time to Talk conference aims to tackle stigma and discrimination around mental health in the workplace and to help organisations learn from other employers about their experience of supporting their workforce.

The event will take place virtually on February 4.

To find out more, go to: https://www.lancashiremind.org.uk/events/121-time-to-talk-about-wellbeing-at-work-virtual-conference-2021.

Find out more about Lowell at: https://lowell.co.uk/.