Blue Monday doesn’t have to be blue

January 17, 2022

The idea of ‘Blue Monday’ came about in 2005 when a psychologist came up with a formula for the saddest day of the year as a marketing tactic for a travel company. Even though there is no scientific studies that back up this theory, the poor weather, time passed since holidays, low motivation levels, and failing New Year’s resolutions means that the third Monday of the year is often a bleak affair. However, in recent years, brands have shifted the focus to promote strategies for positive conversations about mental health. 

Below, we’ve rounded up a number of articles, from our 2021 TV Key Facts Report and elsewhere that highlight the ways the media industry is approaching this subject.

Susie Braun, Director of Social Purpose at itv, discusses the initiatives brought in by itv to tackle mental health issues in her TV Key Facts article which you can read here. She goes into detail about their project ‘Britain Get Talking’ in partnership with CALM (a mental health charity) since 2019 which encourages conversations about feelings. This article demonstrates how well-being became an important value for TV during the pandemic.

Paul Kemp-Robertson’s article focuses on brands’ response to the pandemic and the psychological support they offered their customers, whether by providing emotional or financial aid. There are many ways in which brands can step up and it is massively rewarding to see that increasingly brands are putting social and mental wellbeing on their agendas. Read it here.

© itv

Mental health used to be a taboo subject for most of the TV schedule but increasingly all channels and genres are including these topics in their programming, as described in this article. 1 in 4 people in the UK will experience some form of mental health challenge in their lives so it is incredibly important to normalise these issues. Seeing mental health issues portrayed in programming gets people talking and can encourage productive conversations and spaces for people to share their stories and experiences.  “My friends were all speaking about the show, and that discussion gave me a platform to share my experiences.” says Ana Brenikov, 25, a Londoner who has lived with anxiety throughout her twenties, of the show 13 Reasons Why.

HBO launched an initiative to destigmatize conversations around mental health. They have begun adding brief  messages to the beginning of select television episodes that include scenes of mental illness including Euphoria and The Sopranos. These disclaimers called “bumpers,” provide a mental health hotline to call if viewers are in need of help.” Read more here.

Similarly, last year, MTV Entertainment Group, the Annenberg Inclusion Initiative at the University of Southern California and numerous media companies came together to form the Mental Health Storytelling Coalition. This partnership takes a more creative approach to dealing with the way mental health is portrayed in the media, using their storytelling platforms to meaningfully shift the narrative around mental health. Read more here.

Mental health is one of the most important conversations to be had at the moment and it is inspiring that media platforms are using their reach to tackle these subjects.

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