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Doctors wear crazy socks to raise awareness of mental illness in the medical profession

Peninsula Health CEO Sue Williams, Peninsula Health cardiologist Dr Geoff Toogood and State Member for Frankston Paul Edbrooke with medical staff wearing crazy socks at Frankston Hospital.

Healthcare workers across Australia and the world are showing their support for doctors experiencing mental illness by wearing crazy socks.

The campaign, #CrazySocks4Docs, was started by Peninsula Health cardiologist Dr Geoff Toogood, who has championed mental health support for doctors after his own battle with mental illness.

It all started when Dr Toogood wore odd socks to work one day last year.

“A person who knew my past mental health history noticed and asked someone else whether in fact I was well and what was going on,” explained Dr Toogood.

“The actual reason I was wearing odd socks was because I’d just bought a dog and it had mauled all the washing so they were the only two socks I had!”

Dr Toogood is not the only doctor who has experienced mental illness. A recent study by Beyond Blue found that psychological distress was significantly greater in doctors in comparison to the general population and other professionals (3.4% vs. 2.6% vs. 0.7%).

“People assume that doctors don’t get sick but we’re just like everybody else,” said Dr Toogood.

“The message needs to get out there that doctors need to look after each other, so that we can look after everyone else.”

To get people talking about mental illness in the medical profession, Dr Toogood decided to make 1 June #CrazySocks4Docs day, and encouraged members of the health profession to share photos of their odd, crazy socks on social media.

Greg Hunt and Catherine King supporting #CrazySocks4Docs

“The reason I picked crazy socks is we often call people with mental health issues crazy and I wanted to make crazy fun – instead of the mental health connotation,” explained Dr Toogood.

“I think doctors are struggling generally and it’s very important to get the message out there. I’m just blown away by the support it has received.”

People around Australia and beyond including the Federal Health Minister, Greg Hunt, Shadow Health Minister Catherine King, State Member for Frankston Paul Edbrooke and Peninsula Health CEO Sue Williams, have shown their support by wearing crazy socks.

Join the campaign today #CrazySocks4Docs @CrazySocks4Docs.

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.

 

Jessica Mills
JMills@phcn.vic.gov.au
0419 868 824