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31 May 2018

Media alert

Thursday 31 May

 

This Friday, June 1, medical students and doctors around Australia will wear colourful, odd socks in order to draw attention to doctors’ mental health, as part of a campaign called CrazySocks4Docs.

 

The campaign is the brainchild of Dr Geoff Toogood, a Victorian cardiologist who suffered from severe depression and had to face the dual challenges of seeking urgent medical help and navigating the potential implications on his career. Dr Toogood has used his personal story to become a tireless advocate for doctors’ mental health and a passionate BeyondBlue ambassador. 

 

Dr Toogood has been vocal in calling to remove the structural barriers that grind away at doctors’ wellbeing, including a culture of silence and victim-blaming. He is particularly active in criticizing ‘resilience’ training measures, which lay the blame on the individual rather than the culture within the medical system.

 

AMSA President Alex Farrell agrees, “We have heard too many stories of doctor and medical student suicides.

 

“For medical students, the misuse of ‘resilience’ has made it a dirty word, it takes students at the darkest point, and tells them they just should have been stronger. It acknowledges that the medical training environment is flawed, but at the same time says that the answer is fixing students, rather than seeking larger change.

 

“Because of the efforts of Dr Toogood and many others, after decades of silence we have finally seen movement on this issue over the last few years. We were heartened by the COAG announcement in April to overhaul the laws in order to provide a national mandatory reporting framework that supports doctors’ mental health, and we look forward to being consulted in the process.”

 

The social media campaign went viral last year, with politicians including Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt and Shadow Health Minister Catherine King donning crazy socks.

 

This year medical students around the world in Canada and France will be taking part in the social media campaign.

 

 


Published: 31 May 2018