Feeling Blue? Christmas has come and gone, money is tight, the days are cold and we are still in the midst of winter darkness. It is no surprise then that the 3rd Monday of the year has been coined as Blue Monday. The winter and festive months can be difficult for anyone; breeding feelings of loneliness, isolation and stress. However is there really any evidence that this is the most depressing day of the year?
The simple answer is no. Clinical depression is a far reach from the post-Christmas blues. Depression is a common mental health disorder that causes people to experience low mood, feelings of hopelessness, low self-worth and is accompanied by disturbed sleep, appetite and concentration. Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is the term used to describe low moods felt specifically during these winter months and it is estimated this affects 1 in 15 people in the UK. SAD is treatable and help is readily available in Hertfordshire. In fact, research into suicide rates demonstrate this and highlight that it is a common misconception that suicides peak in the winter months, a greater number of suicides are seen in the late spring and early summer. Although there is much speculation as to the reason for this, the reasons for suicide are complex and individual.The Spot the Signs and Save a Life campaign from Hertfordshire Partnership University NHS Trust (HPFT) is aiming to make everyone alert to the signs of suicidal thoughts and feelings whatever the time of year. These signs could include:
- Talking about “feeling hopeless” and feeling “life is not worth living”.
- Saying “my friends and family are better off without me”.
- Looking for methods or the means to end their lives, including searching the internet.
- Putting affairs in order and seeming to be preparing to die.
- Giving away prized possessions and saying goodbye to loved ones.
- A sudden and seemingly full recovery after a period of severe depression.
- Reporting thoughts and plans to take their own life.
The emotional implication of suicide is distressing and leaves a lasting impact on family, friends and the whole community. The Spot the Signs Save a Life Campaign asks that people make a pledge to take positive action to help prevent suicide. This would include telling someone if you are experiencing suicidal thoughts and feelings or reaching out to someone you are worried about. Spotting the signs of distress and suicidality is the first step in prevention and reaching out for help is the second. If you or a loved one are experiencing emotional distress you can call HPFTs Single Point of Access on 0300 777 0707.
Mind in Mid Herts provides prevention, support and recovery services to empower people of Herts to take control of their mental health. If you want to discuss support don’t hesitate to get in touch.
Also, make sure to download the Stay Alive app, from the apple app store or Google Play for android devices. The app provides advice, numbers to national and local Hertfordshire services, breathing exercises and much more, for when you feel at a loss or a risk to yourself.
You are not alone in this, there are many options and many people who want to help. Stay safe.
Posted on: 17th January 2020