Let’s face it: January can be a miserable month. It’s cold, Christmas is over, and the days may be getting longer but you wouldn’t know it when sometimes you go days without seeing the sun at all. This all gave rise to #BlueMonday – allegedly the most depressing day of the year.
However, the charity Rethink Mental Health acknowledges that mental health isn’t dictated by the date. Depression can and does affect people every day of the year and this isn’t an issue to take lightly. That’s why they have come up with #BrightBlueMonday, a day to do some good and spread a bit of joy. They suggest that you ‘share a coffee with a colleague, bake something for the office or […] text an old friend to say hello.’
Brightening up a gloomy Monday morning is definitely something we can get behind. It’s also an opportunity to talk about serious issues. Employers: what are you doing to support those with mental health issues in your company? According to Rethink, 1 in 4 of us are affected by mental illness. The charity Mind’s research shows that ‘a culture of fear and silence around mental health is costly to employers’, and it may lead to poorer employee retention, higher absenteeism and lower motivation among staff.
So what can employers do to help?
Mind have put together a fantastic collection of resources for businesses here. It’s about being accommodating and offering tailored reasonable adjustments to employees, whether that’s flexible working, providing a workspace that is, for example, quiet or has lots of natural light, or extra support for employees experiencing stress. Another policy could be a buddy system, which offers support outside of a line-management structure.
Charities like Mind and Rethink Mental Health have contributed to the positive cultural shift in attitudes towards mental illness. Companies are also making changes to better support their employees, but there are things we could all do to reach out to our friends and colleagues who may be struggling. So let’s make #BlueMonday into #BrightBlueMonday and spread some positivity today.