If you’re unfamiliar with the concept, it was first coined by physiologist Cliff Arnall back in 2004 and it suggests that the third Monday of every January is “the most depressing day of the year”, with a theory that essentially claims that this is the time of year when we’re all cold, broke, and riddled with guilt that our New Year’s resolutions to get fit, drink less alcohol, and be a better human being, have fallen by the wayside.
It’s certainly been met with its skeptics over the years for a number of reasons, with emotional support charity Samaritans particularly keen to highlight that there’s no such thing and that people can feel a range of emotions any day of the year.
Samaritans volunteers say they hear similar concerns all year round from those who contact the charity, with an average of 10,000 calls coming in each day.
But of course, in 2022, we’re also dealing with the emergence of another COVID variant nearly two years after life was flipped on its head and the country was placed into the first national lockdown on top of those annual January difficulties, so there’s a good chance some people may be feeling the strain of today a little more than they may do others.
Recent studies by leading mental health charity MIND have revealed that more than half of adults (60%), and over two thirds of young people (68%), said their mental health has deteriorated during one of the many lockdowns and throughout the course of the COVID-19 pandemic.
This is why we must not ignore the core of what ‘Blue Monday’ is about, whether or not it’s real or just a myth.
Are you keen to reach out to someone, but aren’t so sure on how to start a conversation?
We know that talking about mental health is not always easy.
But starting a conversation doesn’t have to be awkward, and being there for someone can make a huge difference.
While it’s true that there is no right way to talk about mental health, and just the act of starting a conversation itself could have a significant impact on someone who needs it, that doesn’t mean we’re always confident approaching the subject, so we’ve rounded up five top tips to guide you and make sure you’re lending a hand in a helpful way.
If you or anyone you know is struggling right now, please know that you are never alone and there are many different places you can reach out to for support right here in Greater Manchester.
Suffering in silence never need be the way.
Manchester Mind – An organisation that has supported people in Manchester for over 30 years. Most services are now available over the phone, by email or video call. The number is 0161 769 5732 and the opening hours are Monday – Friday, 10am -2pm.
Andy’s Man Club – A group dedicated to starting conversations about mental health, assuring people that it’s ok to talk. You can contact them by email on: [email protected].
CALM – The Campaign Against Living Miserably supports people via phone and webchat. You can call 0800 58 58 58 or speak to a support worker online. Open 5pm – midnight.
Samaritans – The Manchester & Salford Samaritans offer emotional support by telephone and email. The phone lines and email support are available 24/7. Call 116 123 or visit the website.
Another great resource we recommend checking out is Manchester’s very own Feel Good Club.
The movement – which started humbly as an Instagram page, filled with uplifted messages and top tips by founders Kiera and Aimie Lawlor-Skillen – is aimed at normalising the stigma around mental health, and has since flourished into a successful online platform and a wellbeing-focused cafe in the heart of the Northern Quarter.
There are real people behind our platforms, and our DMs are always open, so we encourage you to drop us a message should you ever need a chat and we will be more than happy to help point you in the right direction towards the best help possible.
And remember, no matter how many times it may have been said before, it cannot be said enough – it’s okay not to be okay, and your emotions are always valid.
Army ‘on standby’ as UK prepares for more postal, rail, lecturer and nurses strikes in December
The armed forces are said to be “on standby” to help fill various roles ahead of a new raft of strikes across health, education and postal sectors this month.
Royal Mail workers, university lecturers and sixth-form college staff are committed to walking out over pay disputes on Wednesday, 30 November as various organised strikes persist across the country.
Countless employees from various industries who feel they are underappreciated and underpaid are set to join the ongoing rail strikes, as well as the thousands of nurses expected to follow suit on the picket line throughout December.
Now, as per the interim chief executive of NHS Providers Saffron Cordery, given the strikes’ proximity to Christmas, roping in the British military now seems likely. Dr Emma Runswick of the British Medical Association said there is there a simple way to put an end to mass industrial action: pay people fairly.
Speaking to Sky News on Thursday morning, Cordery confirmed that while the army is waiting in the wings to help fill relevant NHS roles, “the reality is if the army or other armed forces step in it will very much be at the margins rather than going out and driving ambulances”.
It remains unclear whether army personnel will be needed to combat the impending labour shortage across other industries. Regardless, the Communication Workers Union are going ahead will a series of strikes in December.
Having formally called on Royal Mail employees to join the national demonstrations for strike action on the following days:
Friday, 9 December
Sunday, 11 December
Wednesday, 14 December
Thursday, 15 December
Friday, 23 December
Saturday, 24 December
As for rail workers, RMT Assistant General Secretary Eddie Dempsey shared a similar sentiment, assuring that while the train drivers and the transport sector, in general, are standing firm, negotiations with Network Rail and other operators continue this week.
In addition to RMT members across 14 rail companies striking on 13-14 and 16-17 December, as well as 3-4 and 6-7 January, the Transport Salaried Staffs’ Association (TSSA) said that staff working onboard and station roles will take action against Avanti West Coast on 13, 14, 16 and 17 December.
Meanwhile, the National Education Union (NEU) which represents 77 sixth-form colleges in England are also striking over pay, stating that in real terms, teachers have suffered a pay cut of around 20% since 2010.
Furthermore, the University and College Union (UCU) already held a 48-hour strike last week and is now set to hold another 24-hour walkout among university staff. As well as organising a large rally in London, union members across at least 150 different institutions will be joining the December strikes.
An MP took the mick out of Harry Maguire in Ghanaian parliament and we can’t get over it
Hello and welcome to another edition of ‘Headlines We Never Thought We’d Write’. In this week’s episode, a Ghanaian MP mocked Harry Maguire in the middle of parliament and we want answers.
Now, if you’re coming here looking for answers as to exactly why a random politician all the way over on the other side of the world, of all people, chose to mock Harry Maguire in Ghanaian parliament, we’ll stop you right there: we’re just as confused as you are.
That being said, let’s go on this journey together.
Here is Ghana’s Isaac Adongo, MP for the Bolgatanag Central, going in on the Sheffield-born United defender as a way of digging out the opposition:
As you can see in the rather surreal two-and-a-half-minute clip, Adongo is taking aim at the government’s Vice President and Head of the Economic Management Team, Dr Mahamudu Bawumia, when he decides to use the 29-year-old centre-back as a simile.
The MP explains that despite being perceived as one of the best defenders in the league when the club signed him, he went on to become “the biggest threat at the centre of Man United‘s defence”. Ouch.
Adongo goes on to add that Maguire was “tackling Manchester United players and giving assists to [his] opponents”, joking that even if they missed “he would score for them” and dubbing Bawumia the “economic Maguire” for scoring own goals against his own nation. Deary me.