Wellbeing & Benefits

Mental health issues are made worse by the working week, according to a study by Northern Training Partnership. People turn to Google for answers most commonly on Mondays.

While there is a commonly held belief that the third Monday in January is the most depressing day of the year, research by a North East training company shows that every Monday is Blue Monday as mental health-related searches peak on a Monday.

Internet users in the UK seeking details of depression and anxiety symptoms soar on Mondays, with 855 and 1010 searches for both conditions respectively. Monday is also the most popular day for users to search for ‘panic attack symptoms’.

Of all the search terms analysed in the study, ‘Off work for depression’ represented Monday’s highest share of search interest. 20.4% of weekly searches for that phrase occur on Mondays. 

Monday also represents the highest proportion of all mental health topics that people type into Google each week – with Monday representing 16.2% of the topics studied.

Monday represents the peak crisis point for people turning to Google for help – with Sunday and its imminent return to work a close second. With workers spending an average of 34 hours a week at work, it’s no wonder that stress, anxiety and depression are the top reasons for workers calling in sick.

Considering that Forbes estimated 91 million working days are lost due to mental health in the UK at a cost of £70 billion to the economy, it seems more needs to be done to mitigate the fear of Mondays.

Mondays are the days in which your employees are most likely to begin turning to Google for help. They may not feel supported in the workplace and therefore start to look elsewhere for diagnosis. The searches around ‘symptoms of’ both indicate the start of a negative journey towards ‘help’ terms and then finally, ‘time off’ searches.

Remember – although ‘off work for depression’ might have the lowest volume of searches in terms of actual numbers, it is statistically significant on a Monday, representing over 20% of all searches made that day.

Sunday is the second most common in terms of mental health searches. As people prepare to return to work, they begin to Google search mental health topics.

For some individuals, these internet searches can lead to drastic action as Monday is also the most common day for suicides. Despite the growing epidemic of suicide, only one in six businesses have a clear strategy for managing mental health and promoting positive wellbeing in the workplace.

One organisation in the UK’s suicide hotspot, the North East of England, is educating workers on identifying the early signs of depression, anxiety and other concerns, so people can seek help before suicide becomes an option. Northern Training Partnership’s Mental Health and Wellbeing Training Course helps workplaces spot and support sufferers in the workplace.

Commenting on the study, Craig Ford at Northern Training Partnership said: “Work has an enormous impact on people’s mental health behaviours and is the most likely cause of an increase in help-related queries.

“Our Mental Health & Wellbeing Course will help businesses keep their employees in a better state of mind and offer them the help and support they so clearly need, thus keeping them happier in work and more productive as a result.”

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