Money for the mental health charity MIND was raised at two events which came together on “Blue Monday” in Cumbria this week.
Kendal businessman Neil Corrigan, owner and MD of Creative Lakes, the marketing and branding specialists, donated £100 to the charity after encouraging website visitors to read his ideas for cheering up what’s alleged to be the most depressing day of the year.
And he presented the cheque at the Heaton Cooper Studio in Grasmere where a one-day exhibition of bright and sunny paintings was staged to help beat Blue Monday.
The exhibition was organised by the studio’s manager Becky Heaton Cooper and included paintings of Provence by her grandfather, William Heaton Cooper, and of Morocco, by her uncle, Julian Cooper.
There were also pictures by the youngest artists in the Heaton Cooper dynasty, Becky’s five year old twins Alfie and Ophelia. Visitors to the free exhibition were encouraged to donate to MIND.
“It is the gloomiest time of the year and if there’s anything we can do to brighten people’s lives for a day, then it has to be worthwhile,” said Becky. “We have many works of art that we can’t put on display so it’s a very good excuse to choose some of the brightest featuring the most sunshine.”
MIND chief officer Jonathan Ingram said: “We are delighted that the studio did this to raise awareness of the work of South Lakeland Mind. Good mental health is so important, and our local provision for those people who need support can only continue if other people keep supporting our work.
“’The past few weeks have been harrowing for many people, with the floods bringing headline news to our own doors. The impact of this will last for a long time to come, and it looks like being a much harder January than usual for many people.”
His colleague, Celia Forsyth, accepted the cheque from Mr Corrigan and chatted with visitors about the work of the charity.
Blue Monday was initially identified according to a formula devised by happiness and motivation expert, Cliff Arnall, then a lecturer at Cardiff University. His “equation”, taking into account distance from Christmas, debts and the weather, is now being used by mental health charities to highlight the need to change our routines and give our psychological well-being some attention.
An annual campaign to “beat Blue Monday” was established by Andy Green, a leading expert in brand storytelling, creativity and PR strategy, to raise awareness of the work done by MIND and help people suffering from depression.
The Heaton Cooper initiative was hailed by Mr Green who said: “This wonderful exhibition shows that you can transform the symbolically most depressing day of the year into a celebration of life, and all that there is to enjoy.”