Media - Press Releases

Debt worries can make any day the most depressing day of the year

10th January 2018

Unum urges employers to support mental and financial health year-round

  • Employers can increase their support in January – and all year round – by creating an open culture around mental health and debt and by increasing practical support.
  • One in three UK adults likely to have bought Christmas presents on credit this year1, adding to the debt worries so closely linked with depression.
  • Unum is hosting an interactive wellbeing webinar for UK workers on ‘Blue Monday’ (15 January).

‘Blue Monday’ – the third Monday in January – is termed the most depressing day of the year thanks to a post-Christmas financial hangover, dreary weather and already-derailed New Year’s resolutions.

To build better resilience for UK workers in 2018, employee benefits provider Unum, recommend employers take a holistic and open approach to wellbeing, valuing mental and financial health as highly as physical health.


Liz Walker, HR Director at Unum UK, said:

“Financial stress already costs the UK economy £121 billion a year in lost productivity2, and those with debt problems are twice as likely to develop depression3. With around one in three UK adults buying Christmas presents on credit this year, and the average household spending over £800 on festivities4, January will be fraught with money worries for many.

“Mental and financial health are so closely linked they should be a year-round focus for employee wellbeing programmes. Creating a culture where debt and mental health are not taboo topics can be as important to increasing resilience as providing practical assistance.”


Key tips from Unum to support the mental and financial health of employees year-round include:

  • Create a culture of openness and remove barriers so employees feel comfortable seeking help when needed.
  • Train for triggers so line managers can spot employees in distress and have sensitive conversations.
  • Boost year-round education on managing mental and financial health.
  • Build resilience by increasing understanding of financial benefits available and how they work, like Income Protection, Sick Pay Insurance, Life Insurance and workplace savings and investment schemes.

To learn more, Unum is hosting a seminar on Blue Monday, filled with tools, hints and practical tips to enhance your performance and wellbeing year-round. The interactive session will help you combat the impacts of the emotional, financial, health and wellbeing issues many of us will be facing on this day – and any day of the year.

The webinar will be held at 11 am on 15 January. Register now at Limited space is available.



Notes to editors:

For media enquiries, contact Danielle Anthony at or Kelly Spencer at


1. The Money Advice Trust: Call to ‘make a plan’ for next Christmas as households feel New Year hangover
2. Financial Advice Working Group report (2017) ‘Financial well-being in the workplace: A way forward’
3. The Money and Mental Health Policy Institute: Overstretch, overdrawn, underserved
4. Statista: Average spending for Christmas per household in the United Kingdom in 2016 by category (in GBP)