About Blue Monday
Claimed to be the most depressing day of the year, Blue Monday was first referenced in a press release by Sky Travel in 2005.
The company, eager to calculate when people tend to book their holidays, commissioned Dr Cliff Arnal, a British psychologist, to create a formula to do just that.
Arnal claimed that his formula, which supposedly pinpointed the most depressing time of the year, could predict when people would book trips to sunny, happy, holiday destinations.
His theory purportedly worked out the day with the highest "depression factor" using factors such as avg temperature (C), days since last pay (P), days until next bank holiday (B), avg hours of daylight (D) and the number of nights in during the month (N).
Adding all those factors together, Arnal argued that the third Monday in January was the most depressing day of the year - and therefore the day when high numbers of people would book their tropical escapes.
According to Dr Dean Burnett, a tutor at Cardiff University’s division of psychological medicine and clinical neurosciences, “there are so many reasons to believe [the Blue Monday equation is] nonsense.
“Firstly, the equation wasn’t the result of some psychological study by a reputable lab, but conducted by a travel company, who then fished around for a psychologist to put his name to it, to make it seem credible.
“It combines things that have no quantifiable way of being combined. Debt level, time since Christmas, weather, motivation – the equation combines all these things, but that’s not possible.”
Despite lending his name to the concept, Arnall himself now campaigns against the idea of Blue Monday via his Twitter account.
The Samaritans want to turn the third Monday of January into the more positive "Brew Monday", encouraging people to make a cup of tea and have a chat on the phone or online with those they care about.