As Blue Monday, the purported “most depressing day of the year,” looms on January 15, 2024, experts emphasise the need for employers to extend mental health support beyond this one day.

January, characterised by reflection and resolutions, is a crucial time when employees often make significant life and career decisions, potentially impacting their mental wellbeing.

The Group Risk sector, represented by GRiD, asserts that Blue Monday serves as a vital reminder for employers to proactively support the mental health of their staff throughout the year.

Career-based decisions, relationship changes, moving homes, starting a family, and dealing with financial burdens are just a few challenges that individuals may grapple with during this time.

GRiD spokesperson, Katharine Moxham, highlights the importance of understanding that employees return to work after the festive period with additional plans and potential burdens.

While Blue Monday underscores the need for heightened awareness, Moxham emphasises that mental health support should be a continuous effort, not confined to a single day.

Meeting Varied Mental Health Needs

Recognising the diverse nature of mental health issues, experts stress the importance of providing various types of support, ranging from mild anxiety to severe depression and psychosis. Access to therapy, treatment, counselling, and fast-track support for those in immediate need are crucial components of a comprehensive mental wellbeing program.

Leveraging Employee Benefits for Support

Many employers can access mental health support through employee benefits, particularly within group risk benefits like employer-sponsored life assurance, income protection, and critical illness coverage. These benefits often include Employee Assistance Programs, fast-track access to talking therapies, mental health management apps, and more.

The Cost-Effective Approach

Accessing mental health support through existing employee benefits, such as group risk, not only saves costs for employers but also streamlines the process for employees. By eliminating the need for HR resources to source specific products or services for individual employees, employers can provide quick and efficient support.

Katharine Moxham concludes by stressing that discussions around mental health, often socially acceptable, must not overshadow the severity of the conditions some individuals face. Employers must be prepared with meaningful support, not just for those feeling the pressure of Blue Monday but for anyone facing mental health challenges throughout the year.





Amelia Brand is the Editor for HRreview, and host of the HR in Review podcast series. With a Master’s degree in Legal and Political Theory, her particular interests within HR include employment law, DE&I, and wellbeing within the workplace. Prior to working with HRreview, Amelia was Sub-Editor of a magazine, and Editor of the Environmental Justice Project at University College London, writing and overseeing articles into UCL’s weekly newsletter. Her previous academic work has focused on philosophy, politics and law, with a special focus on how artificial intelligence will feature in the future.