The third Monday of January has long been known as 'Blue Monday'. This is, supposedly, the day when we are all most likely to experience feelings of depression and anxiety due to a combination of post-Christmas blues, cold dark nights and the arrival of unpaid credit card bills.

Apparently, a university professor managed to precisely calculate 'Blue Monday', the most depressing day of the year, using a mathematical formula. The date was calculated by using a combination of factors including: weather conditions, debt level (the difference between debt accumulated and our ability to pay), time since Christmas, time since breaking our new year’s resolutions, low motivational levels and feeling the need to take action. The result of the professor's calculation; the third Monday of the new year = Blue Monday.

All may not be as it seems here, however, as other sources claim that 'Blue Monday' was actually a PR stunt created by Sky Travel to encourage us all to get booking holidays to lift our mood.

PR stunt or mathematical formula aside, the reality is that about 450 million people live with poor mental health which is among the leading causes of illness and disability worldwide.

One person in every four will be affected by a mental disorder at some stage of their lives.

Mental health is just as important as physical health, and one of the most important things we can all do, not just today but every day, is check in with each other. If you know someone who is struggling, don’t hesitate to reach out to them – stay in touch and check in with loved ones.

Disability & mental health

Some of the barriers that disabled people experience can often impact their day-to-day life as well as their mental health. These include: stereotypic social and personal attitudes, abuse, loss of roles (both career and personal), environmental barriers, and a lack of access to appropriate health and social care. Substantial evidence shows that disabled people are at least three times more likely to experience depression compared to the general population*. 

The subject of depression is at the heart of a poem we had the privilege of receiving from Sunflower wearer Kim which provides real insight into her mental health.

I struggle

I'm not the same but I don't know why

I struggle every day but I don't know why

My mind goes crazy

My thoughts get at me

I'm on my rollercoaster

But I hate the ride.

My mind won't stop

My body's sensations

Are too much to take

My depression is high

I see no one there

Yet I must comply

And do what they say

Who's there for me

Who supports and confides

I'm lonely in this life

All on my own

But I have this friend in my head

I hate him

He's wrong

There's way too much judgement

And not enough peace

So leave us alone

You horrid peeps

With your judgements and faces

With your unkindness and fear

Who do you think you are

Trying living up In here

You wouldn't last a minute

All inside my head

You'd struggle just as I do

And I bet you would fled

So I ask you public kindly

If you see any of us about

Be patient and kind

And loving and helpful

Make us feel comfy

Were struggling right now

If we're odd accept it

If we are fearful don't reject it

If we seem different that's just us

But don't ignore us

Or that will make it worse

Be kind always

Especially in these hard times

Some don't have to comply

And are exempt

So try and be respectful

That we are not all the same

And feel your hate with love

So we can get on the bus once again!

COVID-19 and it's impact on young people

Youth Mental Health Day was founded in 2020 in response to the impact the Covid pandemic was having on young people. Routines and structure were completely thrown out of the window. There was little or no opportunity to socialise, grow and learn. In addition to this, the fear of how Covid may affect them, their families and friends caused a lot of young people to feel completely overwhelmed, stressed, anxious and ultimately depressed*. 

Stem4, the founders of Youth Mental Health Day, aim to encourage and improve teenage mental health through conversation. They look to encourage young people to stride forward, with a positive, ‘give things a go’ attitude while being prepared to change their direction of thinking if needed. Importantly they also encourage young people to try and view setbacks as an opportunity to grow, and failure as an opportunity to learn.

As communities we need to encourage young people to ask for help by:

  • Talking to friends
  • Talking to a parent
  • Talking to a teacher
  • Seeing a GP

So how can we look after our mental health?

  • talk about your feelings
  • keep active
  • eat well
  • drink alcohol sensibly
  • keep in touch
  • ask for help
  • take a break
  • do something you’re good at
  • accept who you are
  • care for others.

Take one of these suggestions at a time – to avoid feeling overwhelmed and ultimately achieve good mental health.

How the Sunflower can help

If you are living with a mental health condition, wearing the Sunflower might give you the extra time, support, understanding and patience that is needed during this period.

Maddie White, a member of our Sunflower community, has anxiety and depressive episodes. Maddie used to find going out on her own a challenge. Here's what she had to say about the Sunflower: “I suffer with quite bad anxiety and depressive episodes. It used to be quite difficult generally with socialisation and the places where I found it most difficult was going to the shops or going on holiday...if I'm on my own, I find that quite difficult but since I have had the lanyard's just made it a lot easier for me and it made me a lot more comfortable in those situations.”

Listen to Maddie's podcast

Check in with each other - remember to be kind as you never really know what someone else is going through, and importantly, be kind to yourself.

Mental Health Support

For Mental Health support contact Mind or speak to your GP.

For further support, please visit one of the mental health charities or the Samaritans sites

Anxiety UK

Mental Health UK


Stem4 are dedicated to young people’s mental health and have a wealth of information on how to support them.


*Source: Health, preventive health care, and health care access among women with disabilities in the 1994-1995 National Health Interview Survey, Supplement on Disability.

*Source: Stem4