THE idea that Monday January 18 is the most depressing day of the year is being dismissed by a mental health charity.

Oxfordshire Mind says calling the third Monday in January “Blue Monday” is a PR stunt and depression can affect people on any day of the year.

CEO Dan Knowles said: “Blue Monday aids negative misconceptions about depression and trivialises an illness that can be life threatening for some.”

The marketing concept was originally created to sell holidays at a time when cold winter weather, short days, festive debt and broken New Year’s resolutions tend to make people feel miserable. No scientific studies have ever supported the claim, say the charity.

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“One in four people will experience depression during their life,” said Mr Knowles. “It can be extremely debilitating with symptoms including inability to sleep, seeing no point in the future, feeling disconnected from other people and experiencing suicidal thoughts.

“There is no credible evidence to suggest that one day in particular can increase the risk of people feeling depressed.

“There are of course certain things that may make people feel down at this time of year, such as financial strains, broken New Year’s resolutions, bad weather and short daylight hours. However, depression is not just a one day event.”

Oxfordshire Mind, which runs a range of services including workshops, support with benefits and supported accommodation, is available throughout the year. Call them on 01865 247788.