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Having suffered from depression and anxiety, Dr Geoff Toogood has experienced first-hand stigma and discrimination at many levels. Once recovered he wanted to share his story in the hope of reducing the stigma associated with mental health issues. So, he founded Crazy Socks 4 Docs Day in 2017. Avant recently interviewed Geoff to talk about the Crazy Socks 4 Docs movement, how to support the cause on Friday 4 June and what changes still need to happen to support doctors who are struggling with their mental health.
For the past five years, CrazySocks4Docs founder Dr Geoff Toogood has asked healthcare professionals to wear odd socks on the first Friday in June to raise awareness about doctors experiencing issues of mental illness in silence.
And throughout that time, Dr Toogood says there has never been a more pressing need for the message about reducing stigma and improving self-care to resonate and result in direct action.
I recently was able to host a Grand Round at Peninsula Health to discuss doctors’ mental health. The panelists included Dr Mukesh Haikerwal, Dr Helen Schultz and the federal Health Minister Greg Hunt. There were a number of issues discussed, but I would like to focus on normalisation – the process of bringing, or returning, something to a normal condition or state.
“According to most studies, people’s number one fear is public speaking. Number two is death. Death is number two. Does that sound right? This means to the average person, if you go to a funeral you’re better off in the casket than doing the eulogy.” – Jerry Seinfeld
It’s not simply turning up to speak.
When I was battling the demons of severe depression and suicidal ideation, the word resilience was mentioned … well, more stated at me.
You’re just not resilient enough … if only you were stronger … you’re just not able to cope … you know not everyone is cut out to be a doctor … have you considered another career? … you are too sensitive, too self-reflective, that’s your problem.
I was a 20-year plus veteran in the profession however.
“It is a moment not to be squandered by territorialism, squabbling over funding allocations, or short-term thinking. In every part of our country, and for the sake of our society and economy, we need to continue to stress that maintaining good mental health and preventing suicide is a social, economic and political imperative.” — Julia Gillard, Beyond Blue Chair; 2019 Diego De Leo Address, 23 July 2019
JULIA Gillard’s words have never been more relevant.
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