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A doctor’s personal battle with mental illness

Peninsula Health cardiologist, Dr Geoff Toogood

TALKING THE KEY TO BEAT DEPRESSION

Peninsula Health cardiologist, Dr Geoff Toogood, was struggling with depression and having suicidal thoughts, after a combination of personal and professional circumstances engulfed him.

“I didn’t want to die, but I didn’t want to live with the painful feelings I was experiencing,” says Geoff.

It took Geoff around two years to open up and get help. He was afraid he would lose his job and his cardiology practice, if word got out that he had depression.

Geoff eventually saw his GP and a psychiatrist who recommended time off work and immediate treatment.

“After six months of treatment I had recovered significantly and was able to appreciate my life again,” says Geoff.

He has since returned to work and now regularly shares his story as a respected Peninsula Health cardiologist and BeyondBlue Ambassador. His message to others struggling with depression is simple – “Talk to someone. It doesn’t matter who it is.”

“I also joined social media when I was sick to keep me from feeling isolated,” says Geoff.

Geoff now has a number of activities to help his mental health and wellbeing, including cooking and ocean swimming.

He has attempted to swim the English Channel twice, and this year he got within two kilometres of finishing, before having to stop for health reasons. He’d already swum more than 48 kilometres, through the night, with no break.

While this may seem like a near impossible feat to some, Geoff says long distance swimming is good for his mental health.

“Keep calm and swim the channel,” laughs Geoff. Even if a cup of tea may seem the easier option.

If you or someone you know is experiencing depression you can contact Lifeline on 13 11 14.

To contact Beyond Blue, please call 1300 22 4636 or visit beyondblue.org.au

For Peninsula Health’s Mental Health Triage Service, please call 1300 792 977.

Behaviour signs of depression