ADVERTISERS call Blue Monday the most depressing day of the year. It’s gloomy and people are suffering in the post-Christmas lull and the return to the 9-5.

But some mental health experts have dismissed it as an advertising slogan, saying it trivialises depression.

Blue Monday was coined by Sky Travel marketers in 2005 off the back of research by Dr Cliff Arnall. He claimed to have calculated the third Monday in January as the most depressing of the year. In the equation were various factors, including: the weather, debt level, time since Christmas, time since failing our new year’s resolutions, low motivational levels and feeling a need to take action.

Now, the phrase is typically used by PR executives trying to sell uplifting deals.

But is there any truth in it?

Rosie Weatherly of mental health charity Mind said not: “Blue Monday’ is a slogan from an advertising campaign, and there is no evidence to suggest one specific day increases the risk of experiencing depression.

"‘Blue Monday’ is unscientific, and trivialises depression - which in reality is a potentially life-threatening condition.

"The winter months can cause us to feel low, potentially as a result of shorter days, changes in weather or money worries. These things might contribute to some people’s depression, but not others, and people with depression will be affected for more than one day.”

Mind said there were plenty of things that could help improve everyday mental health and wellbeing in col January.

“Getting outside during daylight can often help, as can doing some exercise. Focussing on a hobby like cooking, crafting or climbing can also give us an enjoyable break from day to day pressures. The important thing is to find something that works for you, because we are all different,” the charity said.

Last year the Adver backed a BBC campaign aimed at boosting people’s mental health. Daily wellbeing-boosting ideas included detoxing from digital devices and getting out in the fresh air. We spoke to Twigs Community Gardens volunteer Chris, 43: “Being outside, working with the plants, doing woodwork or different crafts – it’s peaceful. It’s calming. You’re surrounded by nature."

Today, GWR will host a Brew Monday event at Swindon railway station, with railway staff with mental health first aid training on hand to give out free teabags and tips for how to support someone with their wellbeing. The project is run with the Samaritans.

Neil Peters, Samaritans Rail programme manager, said: “During the cold and grey winter months, connecting with others over a cuppa can help weather the ups and downs of life. Anyone can hold a Brew Monday event at work, at home, wherever and whenever you like – all you need is a kettle and some mugs, and this could make a huge difference in someone’s life.”