Dr. Cliff Arnall based his findings that January 21st will be the most depressing day on a special formula that he developed, which takes into account 3 factors; the weather, failed new years resolutions and consumer debt from holiday spending. However, a writer over at the Time website has findings of his own.

Bill Tancer, a columnist at Time, believes that in order to get a better estimation of what the most depressing day is we only have to look to search engine behavior. Tancer’s logic is thus;

In the digital age we’re likely to turn to search engines just as often as we would confide in friends and medical professionals to gauge our psychological state. If we think we’re suffering from a real bout of the blues or a mental crisis, we’re likely to Google the symptoms or find a chat group in the hopes of performing a self-diagnosis.

Based on this logic, Tancer’s estimation of the most depressing day of the year is sometime in mid-November. Tancer also believes further evidence of more people being depressed lies in the traffic to popular depression treatment sites, such as Lexapro, Paxil and Cymbalta. According to his findings, the traffic to these sites spikes in late October and early November, thus further bolstering his estimation.

I tend to agree more with the logic that Tancer used to calculate his estimation of the most depressing time period. While I would like to say that we will know definitively which gentleman was right after January 21st, it’s likely that we will only be able to know how many people came in for treatment of their depression during these times and not capture the truest picture of the entire population of depressed individuals, since surely some people who are depressed do not seek treatment. However, I can see how these theories might be useful for hospitals and other health care providers to determine proper staffing etc. during these peak times.