In advance of “Blue Monday”, which is labelled as the most depressing day of the year, FirstCare confirmed that workers are more likely to take time off for mental health reasons in November or December. The statistics on mental health-related absences featured in the Telegraph. To find out more click here: https://www.telegraph.co.uk/science/2020/01/17/worried-blue-monday-dont-panic-depressing-day-year-normally/
Please note, this article was published in January prior to the coronavirus pandemic.
Blue Monday may not be the most depressing day of the year, data from FirstCare, the UK’s leading workforce absence management system, has found.
Coined in 2005 by holiday company Sky Travel, Blue Monday, which falls on 20th January 2020, claims to be the most depressing day of the calendar year. FirstCare’s database shows that Mondays are certainly the most depressing day of the week – on average eight percent of all absences recorded on Mondays in 2019 were mental health-related.
However, the most depressing day of the year, when workers are most likely to take unplanned time off for mental health reasons, typically falls in November and December with 47 percent and 40 percent of ‘true’ Blue Monday days falling within these months respectively. In 2018 and 2017, the days with the highest number of reported mental health absences fell on Monday 17th December and Monday 27th November.
The main reasons given for workplace absence recorded in January are coughs, colds and the flu. Having to take care of a dependent is the second biggest cause of absence.
Mental health issues were the fourth highest reason for absence in January 2019, the highest position recorded since 2005. Throughout last year, mental health related absence accounted for more working days lost than any other absence reason, a trend that has only started since 2018.
Blue Monday may not be the most depressing day of the year, but the mental health of workers is an increasingly important issue, relating to 16 percent of all working days lost to absence since 2005. FirstCare estimate that mental health-related absence has cost the UK economy at least £192bn since their database started in 2005, and £25bn in 2019 alone.
Ian Caminsky, CEO at FirstCare, said:
“Whilst it is interesting, and a relief, to know that today will not be the most depressing day of the year, we welcome any reason to shine a spotlight on mental health awareness and employee wellbeing.
“Our database shows that it is more likely that Blue Monday falls in November or December.
“The impact of mental health absence on the economy is staggering, but not surprising. If UK businesses and public sector organisations take bold, proactive steps to put employee welfare at the top of the agenda, the resulting productivity boost will pay dividends.”