So here we are on the mythical Blue Monday, a term first coined in 2005 by Sky Travel which commissioned psychologist Cliff Arnall to come up with a “scientific formula” to calculate the most depressing day of the year.

Seventeen years on and the concept still has solid traction even though Mr Arnall himself has since campaigned against his brainchild, while many others have dismissed it as pseudoscientific rubbish.

Usually falling on the third Monday of the new year, Blue Monday might at first blush appear to have some legitimacy. Festivities have died down, the weather’s generally dreich, and there’s little daylight to speak of in the Northern Hemisphere. Throw in people’s debt levels – which have likely increased in the wake of holiday celebrations – along with some broken new year’s resolutions and viola: the saddest day of the year.

Except, as various experts have pointed out, the so-called formula fails to make any mathematical sense.

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Still, shouldn’t we welcome another opportunity to open up the discussion about mental health? After nearly two onerous years of dealing with a seemingly intractable viral enemy, the conversation about mental well-being has reached new levels of empathy and sincerity that were long overdue.

One major problem with Blue Monday – which is also a critical factor in its endurance – is that it is used by too many companies to flog all manner of services and remedies to supposedly defeat “the blues”.

Anyone who has ever suffered from depression or anxiety – and as many as a quarter of the UK population does in any given year – knows fine well there is no magic cure. But that doesn’t stop desperate people from taking a gamble, nor snake oil salesmen from touting fanciful elixirs.

Companies that value the social and economic benefits of a mentally robust population start by looking after their own employees. Some have upped their game during the course of the pandemic, but all need to double down in 2022 as Covid’s scars will be deep and enduring.

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A dog is for life, not just Christmas, and in the same vein good mental health is a day-in, day-out enterprise. That’s why people like Rich Wilson – chief executive of Gigged.AI and an outspoken mental health advocate – get annoyed with the sound and fury that surrounds Blue Monday, signifying nothing.

His team is today kicking off their wellness strategy in the hope of inspiring other companies. It includes giving staff time off for the activity of their choice, quarterly wellness days, and a new partnership with Scottish mental health app OK Positive. In addition, more than a quarter of Gigged.AI’s staff have been trained as mental health first aiders.

Most important is that it’s not a one-off stunt. There are 365 days in 2022, and on each and every one of them, some people will be in need of assistance. That’s the reality employers must prepare for.