Bright, fun and crazy socks are being worn by healthcare workers across Australia and the world to show support to colleagues experiencing mental illness.
Established by Peninsula Health cardiologist Dr Geoff Toogood, the #CrazySocks4Docs campaign aims to break down stigmas surrounding doctors and healthcare workers with poor mental health by fostering important conversations, story sharing and advocacy for mental health action.
“Stigma is a major barrier for people seeking help, particularly doctors,” Dr Toogood said.
“If doctors feel stigmatised due to a mental health issue, they won’t speak to someone, they won’t get help, meaning their help may be delayed, which in some cases may end in tragedy.”
Having championed against his own mental illness, including the stigma and discrimination he experienced, Dr Toogood became determined to create an awareness movement that would start a conversation and help shine a light on mental illness within the medical profession.
“I’m really proud that the campaign has started conversations around the world and has helped encourage people to seek help,” he said. “By wearing crazy socks, we are making a change.”
Dr Toogood said he wanted supporters of this years’ #CrazySocks4Docs campaign to focus on developing tangible actions. Whether that be by connecting with your friends, advocating for a cause or speaking to someone about mental illness, do something more than simply sharing the message.
“I encourage everyone to wear their crazy socks and think of a tangible action that they can apply to their daily life,” Dr Toogood said.
“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.”
To spread the message and inspire doctors to start talking about their mental health, people are encouraged to take a photo of their colourful, silly, bright, socks and share it on social media using the hashtag #CrazySocks4Docs alongside their tangible action.
#CrazySocks4Docs is held on the first Friday of June every year. More information about #CrazySocks4Docs is available online here.
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.