Blue Monday

Beautiful blue skyThe third Monday in January is often referred to as ‘Blue Monday’, as it is said by some to be the most depresing day of the year – for a number of reasons including that it’s a Monday (back to work after the weekend!), the mornings are dark (sunrise isn’t until 7:57am), bad weather makes for a longer commute to work (especially while while we have the snow), people may have by now broken any new years resolutions they made, extra money spent at Christmas can make it harder to get through January and the end-of-month pay cheque is still a little way away!

Snowy window boxThis does indeed sound rather depressing and there’s no doubt that mid to late January can be a particularly difficult time of year for many. But there are a number of initiatives around the country aimed at helping people – for example   Mind in Cambridgeshire (formerly Cam Mind, but they recently merged with Hunts Mind) have all sorts of resources and suggestions on their website, including a timetable of whereabouts in Cambridge ‘Blue Man’ will be throughout today (in case you want to pop along and meet him!).

With this in mind, I thought today might be a good opportunity to mention that if people are feeling low or depressed then there are charities and organisations that can help, and there is always someone to talk to. Here’s a list of useful (mostly local) contacts:

  • The Samaritans are available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year and you can call them on (08457) 909090 or email jo@samaritans.org. If you would prefer to talk to someone in person you can call in to the local branch at: 4 Emmanuel Road, Cambridge CB1 1JW, between 10:30am and 10pm. There’s more info on the Cambridge Samaritans website.
  • Lifecraft is a self-help user-led organisation for adults that have experience of mental health difficulties in their lives. They provide free confidential support via the Lifeline telephone service, which is open 7pm-11pm 365 days a year – call (0808) 808 2121 (free if calling from a BT landline). Based at the Bath House on the corner of Gwydir Street and Mill Road, Lifecraft also provide a range of support services and activities including one-to-one counselling and group activities such as art, meditation and a social club.
  • The Citizens Advice Bureau can provide advice on a range of specific issues such as help with debt, welfare rights, housing, employment and relationships. Cambridge Citizens Advice Bureau & Advice Hub is based at 66 Devonshire Road, Cambridge CB1 2BL and you can drop in any time 9:15-12:45 Monday to Friday. Their advice line telephone number is (0844) 8487979 and you can call Monday-Friday, though do note that advisers are often only available 2pm-4pm. There’s quite a bit of information on their website, so you may be able to find what you need online.
  • Mind in Cambridgeshire provides counselling and wellbeing services. Their website has lots of info and you can phone them on (01223) 311320 during office hours.

Hello duckyIf you’re feeling down or depressed today, or at any time, please remember that you are not alone and there are people you can talk to 24 hours a day, 365 days a year; and if you know someone who isn’t feeling happy then please be kind and thoughtful – a smile or a ‘hello’ can go a long way.

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