Home // Latest News // Health professionals don colourful socks to raise awareness of doctors’ mental health

Health professionals don colourful socks to raise awareness of doctors’ mental health

1 June 2018

Ms Felicity Topp, Miss Annette Holian, Dr Geoff Toogood, Mr Paul Edbrooke MP and Associate Professor Tony Walker.

Doctors, medical students and health professionals around the world are today wearing outlandish, zany and bright socks in support of doctors’ mental health.

Peninsula Health cardiologist Dr Geoff Toogood started #CrazySocks4Docs last year. The campaign gained such momentum that it trended on Twitter and reached more than one million people.

“We had doctors across Australia, America and Europe supporting #CrazySocks4Docs and this year is even bigger,” said Dr Toogood, who started the campaign after his own battle with mental illness.

“The purpose of #CrazySocks4Docs is to raise awareness about mental illness in the medical profession and also to get doctors to start talking about it.”

“Having a conversation with your friends, family or colleagues about your mental health is the first step. Doctors need to look after each other, so that we can look after everyone else.”

State Member for Frankston and Victoria’s Men’s Health Ambassador, Paul Edbrooke MP, Ambulance Victoria CEO, Associate Professor Tony Walker, and Royal Australian Air Force Group Captain and orthopaedic and trauma surgeon, Miss Annette Holian, donned silly socks and joined Peninsula Health Chief Executive Felicity Topp and Dr Toogood at Frankston Hospital on 1 June to discuss doctors’ mental health.

Mr Edbrooke encouraged people to take Dr Toogood up on his challenge and make the effort to reach out to others.

“We turn to doctors in our time of need. We don’t think the black dog affects them, but it does,” said Mr Edbrooke.

“Go and talk to your friends and colleagues, take them a biscuit and ask how they are doing.”

Ms Topp agreed.

“We have lots of support programs available for our staff, but most importantly we have each other,” said Ms Topp.

“When you’re in the tea room, take your eyes off your screen and speak to your colleagues. Say hey, how are you going? Start a conversation.”

Ambulance Victoria has made big strides in changing its culture so that staff feel comfortable talking about their mental health.

“We can’t do the jobs that we do without it having an impact on our mental health,” said Mr Walker.

“We’ve worked with Beyond Blue to roll out mental health training for all staff.”

“We’ve been breaking down the stigma – staff now feel just as comfortable talking about mental health, as they do physical injuries.”

Miss Holian said doctors need to prioritise their own health and look out for each other.

“We are healers. We study medicine to make the world a better place. Abuse of registrars and junior staff under the guise of teaching is not right.”

“This is not a game of Survivor. Our strength is in working together to leave no man or woman behind.”

Dr Toogood was applauded for starting a movement that is making a big difference.

“Dr Toogood has saved countless lives as a cardiologist – now he’s created a movement that will save millions of lives around the world.” Mr Walker said.

There’s still time to get involved. Here’s how:

  1. Wear bright, fun, zany socks
  2. Take a photo
  3. Share on social media using the hashtag #CrazySocks4Docs

The full presentation from the #CrazySocks4Docs launch can be viewed online here.

More information about #CrazySocks4Docs is available online here.

For more details or to arrange interviews with Felicity Topp or Geoff Toogood please contact:

Media contact

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