"The Most Depressing Day of The Year"
Blue Monday doesn't exist.
Let me say that again.
Blue Monday Does Not Exist
It was originally a marketing stunt. The post-Christmas slump combined with it being mid-winter, people possibly having made and then abandoned some New Year's resolutions, possibly feeling down about having returned to a job they aren't happy with.... all of that combines to make a perfect time to pitch a sale and try to cheer everyone up.
Any opportunity to get a sale, right?
Masks making you super anxious every time you wear them because it reminds you of that time you were held down and sexually assaulted?
Buy some new clothes.
Feeling trapped in your job but can't leave because you have nowhere else to go and Universal Credit is an absolute joke?
A new sofa will cheer you right up!
Depression being made worse by lockdown restrictions?
20% off sex toys will sort you out.
All this "new year, new you" change your diet/do some exercise stuff triggering your eating disorder?
You just need a really tasty sandwich.
If this makes you feel, well, blue... well that's okay. That is the kind of consumerist society we live in - one where apparently anything can be reasonably used as a way of drawing in potential leads - and frankly it's a horribly depressing indictment when many companies have to be reminded that mental health is not a marketing tool.
Simon Harris of Man Behaving Dadly has spent the day today (Mon 18th Jan 2021 - the day I wrote this post) tweeting companies who have sent out Blue Monday marketing emails to their email lists offering discounts and sales but made no mention of where to turn if someone is genuinely struggling with their mental health. Yes, they are slowly replying and taking the feedback on board, but it shouldn't have needed to be said in the first place.
Mental health is not an afterthought.
Those thing listed above - doing a job one doesn't enjoy; trying to better one self but not really knowing how to make changes that are sustainable and ending up in a guilt/shame spiral; struggling with the lack of light and warmth and sunshine - those aren't small things.
Those things are intricately bound up in our mental health. They are enough to be Big Deals all by themselves, and they can hugely exaccerbate any existing mental health problems if you have them. Job stress is one of the most common work-related problems; in 2020, only 1% of employed adults said they had never experienced workplace stress. Lower light levels in winter mean that large proportions of the UK population are vitamin D deficient, and low vitamin D levels are associated with depression.
Mental Health and The Pandemic
Right now we are suffering a huge mental health crisis. Lockdown restrictions, fears of catching CoVid-19, mask wearing and stress over juggling working (either from home or at your usual workplace) with remote learning for any children have all contributed, and maternity is not exempt.
Current restrictions on how many people are allowed into hospital for scans, appointments and check-ups are causing huge amounts of stress and upset to parents nationwide, at a time in their lives when they are already vulnerable and should ideally be working to reduce their stress levels, not increase them.
It is particularly important, given the current situation that we've found herself, that mental health not be used as a hook on which to snag unwary customers.
Where to Find Mental Health Support in West Yorkshire
Below I've compiled a list of resources/signposts/helplines which you may find useful. The list starts with national and then moves on to ones local to West Yorkshire. Under those two categories each list starts with broad mental health resources, then has resources specifically geared towards perinatal mental health, and ends with any potentially useful helplines.
Note: This list is not exhaustive, and I will be adding to it on an ongoing basis whenever I find something worth sharing!
If you would like to share a resource, please leave a comment.
- Mind - the mental health charity have a specific section on perinatal mental health
- Rethink Mental Illness - information and support including local support groups
- Maternal Mental Health Alliance - campaigning for specialist perinatal mental health support across the UK
- Family Action provide specific perinatal support services
- Samaritans - call 116 123
- My Wellbeing College is Bradford's free service geared towards helping people navigate everyday problems and My Living Well is a site dedicated to improving the health of people in Bradford, and it includes a section for pregnancy and postnatal
- Healthy Minds Calderdale is Calderdale's local mental health charity
- MindWell is the resource for mental health information for Leeds residents and has a specific maternity section here
- Little Minds Matter strengthens the relationship between babies and parents - it works with parents in the Better Start areas of Bradford and you can be referred via your GP, HV or MW
- Better Start's Perinatal Support Service supports those in Bradford's Better Start areas who have or are at risk of mild to moderate mental health issues
- Specialist Perinatal Mental Health Services - Bradford and Airedale / Leeds / Calderdale, Kirklees and Wakefield
- Mid Yorkshire Perinatal Mental Health Support Services
- First Response are Bradford's mental health crisis team and anybody who is experiencing any kind of mental health crisis is encouaged to call them on 01274221181