Now more than ever the importance of our healthcare professionals has been in the spotlight as an overall appreciation of the incredibly demanding work they do in keeping our community healthy and safe, has been put in the forefront of all conversations.
The demands on the medical and healthcare industry in general, are important to acknowledge, which is why it is fantastic to see grass roots initiatives such as the Socks4Docs initiative hosted by the incredible team at Gold Coast health.
We had a chance to catch up with one of the team prior to this years event to find out how it started and their effort to break the stigma surrounding mental health in their industry.
Tell us a bit about the Socks4Docs initiative . . .
Socks4Docs Day, now in its fourth year, was founded by Dr Geoff Toogood, after his own battle with mental illness. The crazy sock theme stemmed from a conversation between two people who knew Dr Toogood’s mental health history and were concerned when he turned up for work wearing odd socks.
The talk behind his back was he was spiraling again; but in reality, he was well and his socks (apart from the last two odd socks) had been eaten by his new puppy.
Rather than starting a conversation to check if he was ok, instead he heard whisperings...
He started #Crazy Socks4Docs Day as an attempt to address the stigma of mental health and to make it ok for a health worker to not to be ok.
What is the main goal behind the Socks4Docs initiative?
Socks4Docs Day uses colourful socks as a conversation starter to raise awareness of mental health issues among health care workers, with the goal of changing workplace culture and encouraging health care workers to look out and care for each other.
What is involved in the initiative?
Gold Coast Health’s staff health and wellbeing program Work Health and Safety | Team Health runs an annual event to champion the Socks4Docs message. COVID-19 has changed the way this year’s event can be held so individual Socks4Docs packs will be delivered to 100 work areas for staff to run their own mini event, while maintaining social distance.
The packs contain promotional material, pairs of crazy socks, exercise stretch bands and mental health resources and staff are encouraged to don their loudest, brightest pair of socks, decorate their areas and host a morning tea to check in on each other and talk about mental health.
Your hospital hosts this initiative every year, do you feel the awareness is growing every year?
Each year staff look forward to wearing their crazy socks and spreading the wellness message, and this year is even more important. Our healthcare workers are currently navigating unprecedented times so looking after their mental health is vital.