The third Monday in January, this year, January 16, is often called “Blue Monday,” as it is thought to be the most depressing day of the year –but this simply isn’t true.
“Blue Monday” is purported to be the day when people feel most depressed, and this correlates with another myth – that most suicides occur around this time of year. In fact, the suicide rate is fairly consistent throughout the year, peaking just slightly in the spring and summer.
It is true that many people feel a bit down around this time of year; the weather is chilly, the holidays are over, and perhaps our bank accounts are a bit emptier than usual. However, there is a huge difference between feeling a bit down and feeling depressed and suicidal.
We at the Centre for Suicide Prevention want to dispel the myth of Blue Monday because it oversimplifies depression and suicide. This myth takes away from the fact that some people are really struggling; depression is not something brought on simply by gloomy weather or an empty bank account. It is a real mental illness that affects people at any time of the year.
“Suicide is complex because people are complex, and there is rarely just one reason why a person chooses to end their own life,” says Mara Grunau, Executive Director at the Centre for Suicide Prevention. “We’re hardwired to live, and people will only consider suicide when they see no other options.”
Mark Skowron, who lost his son Evan to suicide several years ago can attest to the complexity of suicide and depression. Skowron organizes a golf tournament annually to help build connections amongst people and to bring awareness to suicide prevention.
There is hope for those who are suicidal, and this time of year is as good as any to reach out to someone you think may be struggling. If you know someone who is suicidal, ask them directly if they are thinking about suicide, and connect them with help. If you are suicidal, contact your local crisis centre; they can help!
If you are feeling suicidal, or know someone who is, call the Distress Centre: 1-403-266-4357
Centre for Suicide Prevention