Blue Monday is churnalism. Again.

January 20th, 2014 by Ben Goldacre in blue monday, cash-for-"stories" | 1 Comment »

I have two problems with Blue Monday. One is that there isn’t really any good evidence for seasonal variation in mood:

www.badscience.net/2009/01/part-432-in-which-i-get-a-bit-overinterested-and-look-up-waaay-too-many-references/

The other is that serious mental health charities have been getting involved in using it, when they should be holding a line, advocating for patients based on good scientific evidence. When these charities participate in a circus of media churnalism, that encourages journalists to believe it’s ok to make stuff up around mental health, and we are more likely end up with stories like the hideous Mentaline, described below:

www.badscience.net/2011/01/tell-me-now-how-do-i-feel/

I’ve spent many years working – amongst others – with patients who have serious mental health problems. I don’t think we help move things forward, or get mental health taken more seriously, by using dodgy science.

Anyway… here’s me on NPR On The Media discussing Blue Monday, there are some funny new bits:

www.wnyc.org/radio/#/ondemand/341007

More on Blue Monday going – back to 2003 – here:

www.badscience.net/category/blue-monday/

More on PR reviewed scientific research:

www.badscience.net/category/cash-for-stories/

And here’s the whole OnTheMedia episode:

www.onthemedia.org/story/on-the-media-2014-01-10/


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One Response



  1. Blakey said,

    May 12, 2014 at 11:48 am

    As someone who suffered with depression for somewhere north of 15 years before seeking assistance (quite recently!) I have an obvious vested interest in seeing misinformation on the subject just go the fuck away. It’s deeply disappointing seeing these ideas spread by groups who really should know better. I couldn’t begin to count the number of times I’ve heard people talk about how those suffering from depression should “just get over it”, or offer any amount of ultimately useless advice, and this kind of condescending bullshit – making people believe that they ‘understand’ – is exactly why.

    Can’t get over the condescending PR twerp in that other thread, though – that gave me a bit of a laugh, at least. Does anyone know whether that interview actually happened?

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