What began as a bad sock day at the office has turned into an annual event to help support doctors with mental health issues.
Crazy Socks for Docs Day was started by Dr Geoffrey Toogood in 2017 to address mental health stigma among health practitioners, after he turned up for work wearing odd socks – rather than asking if he was okay, his colleagues whispered about his ‘failure’.
The day for doctors is this Friday with an aim to help doctors recognise it’s okay not to be okay. It’s important now more than ever as COVID-19 pandemic and national vaccine rollout have made the past two years particularly challenging for GPs and other doctors on the frontline.
The Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP) is encouraging everyone to buy a pair of ‘crazy socks’ to support doctors’ mental health on Crazy Socks 4 Docs Day this Friday.
The RACGP is selling special socks, with all proceeds going to Beyond Blue. Show your support by purchasing your own pair online at the RACGP Shop, and wearing them on Friday June 3.
RACGP President Adj. Professor Karen Price said she hoped to see many Australians supporting Crazy Socks for Docs Day this year. ‘As a GP myself, I’m all too aware of the extra pressure doctors have been under during the pandemic – burnout and mental health issues are real concerns in our profession.
‘The problem is that mental health stigma remains a very real issue among doctors in particular.
‘That’s why this day is so important, it created a safe space for us to have a conversation about mental health and wellbeing and to fight the stigma, and we really need that.
‘I hope that this year we see more Australians getting behind this cause and joining doctors in wearing their ‘crazy socks’ on Friday the 3rd of June – because mental health support for those who need it is so critical right now.’
Professor Price wants to encourage everyone to check in with themselves, their colleagues and loved ones. ‘If you need help, reach out for support – this could be reaching out to your own GP, or a psychologist or psychiatrist.
‘And don’t forget to wear your crazy socks to support mental health for health practitioners around the world.’
Dr Toogood said he was pleased to have the continued support of the RACGP to fight mental health stigma. ‘Now in its sixth year, Crazy Socks 4 Docs Day is all about raising awareness of the mental health of all doctors and health practitioners around the world.
‘We’re aiming not only to fight mental health stigma, but also to encourage advocacy and action among doctors are other health practitioners. We want doctors to speak out and support their colleagues when they’re in need, and to take action for themselves – put aside time for yourself, and your wellbeing.’
The RACGP is also a strong advocate against mandatory reporting laws that discourage doctors from seeking the healthcare they need. The RACGP has called for changes to the current mandatory reporting laws, so that doctors can seek healthcare without fear of being reported to a regulatory body.