THE arrival of the most miserable day of the year has sparked a campaign to get people in Dudley to open up about their mental health.

The third Monday of January, which this year falls on January 20, is officially known as Blue Monday and is considered to be the most miserable day of the year due to the combination of post-festive blues, cold dark nights and financial strain after Christmas.

To counter this, a scheme has been launched to banish the blues for green, as part of a mental health awareness campaign.

Dudley town centre, Dudley Council House and Himley Hall will be lit up in green for Blue Monday, as part of the campaign aimed at driving away the blues, supporting people to talk about their feelings and supporting mental wellbeing.

Council chiefs also urged staff to wear green clothes and green ribbons, to show support for people struggling with their mental health.

Ben Clews, a 27-year-old council worker, fully backs this campaign and its aim to reduce the shame of mental ill health.

He said: "Talking about my depression at work has been critical to my recovery - the symptoms can be quite clear to other people, but affect your ability to see them in yourself.

"After discussing it with my colleagues, I could count on them to intervene if my mood started to dip again, when I wouldn't notice myself. This is just one example of why it's important to challenge the stigma around mental health issues."

Mayor’s consort, Councillor Anne Millward, is also lending her weight to the campaign.

She said: "Everybody struggles with their mood on occasion, but some people experience an uphill battle with their mental health. I have had my own share of tough times in the past, and I urge everyone to be more aware and supportive of those who are going through difficult times right now."

The Blue Monday campaign is also being supported by Dudley MIND, Dudley Clinical Commissioning Group, Dudley and Walsall Mental Health Trust, Dudley MIND, Tough Enough To Care, MAD (Men with Anxiety and Depression) and Dudley Wellbeing Hub.