15 January 2018

People are suffering in silence; not just on Blue Monday

4 min read

Lorna Wiltshire
Lorna Wiltshire

Lorna Wiltshire, Corporate PR Manager


Blue Monday falls on Monday 15 January this year and is said to be the most depressing day of the year.

  • 65% of UK adults say they have suffered from feelings of stress, anxiety or depression and 36% of these felt uncomfortable telling their family about their symptoms;
  • 48% who delayed seeing their GP didn’t want to acknowledge they were suffering from stress, anxiety or depression;
  • 45% feel uncomfortable telling their employer about their mental health symptoms; 
  • 64% of those who have seen a GP due to symptoms of stress, anxiety or depression are prescribed medication.

The day shines the spotlight on the fact that people are beginning to experience post-Christmas blues, and it is also when the credit card bills start to arrive. But the fact is that poor mental health does not just happen on a designated day. It is unpredictable, and can affect anyone at any time not just on Blue Monday. Research from Royal London reveals 65% of UK adults say they have suffered with feelings of stress, anxiety or depression and 58% of these people didn’t go to their GP for help. Those who delayed visiting a GP said they did so due to lack of recognition of symptoms of stress or anxiety (48%) and denial (32%).

Work is the main cause of people experiencing feelings of stress, anxiety and depression along with loneliness and relationship strains. Nearly half (48%) of those who had visited a GP to address their mental health said they didn’t seek help sooner, because they didn’t want to acknowledge they were suffering from stress, anxiety or depression and 32% didn’t recognise their symptoms as stress, anxiety or depression. Over half (51%) of UK workers surveyed said they would worry about their boss or colleagues finding out and 59% said they don’t want stress, anxiety or depression recorded on their company sick record.

Jennifer Gilchrist, Insurance Specialist at Royal London, comments:

"Blue Monday may be something a lot of people can relate to after the excesses of Christmas but it’s important to remember that stress, anxiety or depression can strike at any time.

Royal London’s mental health research revealed that work was a major contributing factor to people experiencing feelings of stress, anxiety, or depression. Our research revealed that a worrying 51% delay seeing a GP for mental health problems for longer than a month and are suffering in silence.

If your problem persists and you don’t feel your usual self or what is normal for you, you should seek help. Speak to your family, a friend, your GP or a mental health charity such as MIND as they can offer support. However people choose to deal with their symptoms the most important thing is that they do not suffer in silence."

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For further information please contact:

Lorna Wiltshire, Corporate PR Manager

Note to editors

The third Monday in January is known as Blue Monday a phrase first mentioned in 2005. It is said to be the most depressing day of the year, due to a combination of post-Christmas blues, cold dark nights and the arrival of credit card bills. 

The date was calculated by using factors, such as weather conditions, debt level (the difference between debt accumulated and our ability to pay), time since Christmas, time since failing our new year’s resolutions, low motivational levels and feeling of a need to take action. 

All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov Plc. Total sample size was 2103 adults. Fieldwork was undertaken between 28 and 29 September 2017. The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all UK adults (aged 18+).

About Royal London:

Royal London is the largest mutual life, pensions and investment company in the UK, with funds under management of £117 billion, 8.8 million policies in force and 3,745 employees. Figures quoted are as at 30 June 2018.