DOCTORS may appear to have the answers to every patient’s problems, but underneath, they too could be fighting their own battle.

Mental health problems are high among medical workers.

That’s why Crazy Socks 4 Docs Day on Friday, June 5, is raising awareness of the mental health of all doctors and health practitioners around the world.

Bass Coast Health staff are getting behind the cause by rummaging through their sock drawers for colourful, outrageous socks to wear on the day.

Clinical director of emergency medicine, Dr Dan Crompton, is one of those.

“There is a high incidence of mental health and suicide problems amongst doctors and health practitioners compared to other professions,” he said.

Chief medical officer Dr Renee Kelsall said some health workers still do not talk about mental health problems due to perceived stigma.

Bass Coast Health chief medical officer Dr Bruce Waxman, working from home, has his socks sorted for Crazy Socks 4 Docs Day.

“There is still that unfortunate perception that people think mental health problems are a sign of weakness,” she said.

“But when you walk down the corridor wearing crazy socks and people ask you why you are wearing odd socks, that starts a conversation about mental health problems.”

Dr Crompton said medical workers – and others – could help maintain positive mental health by monitoring their emotions and seeking advice when necessary.

Crazy Socks 4 Docs Day, according to BCH chief medical officer Dr Bruce Waxman, began with a mischievous dog.

“It all started with a Frankston cardiologist recovering from depression, and his dog chewing up his socks in the laundry basket. The doctor then wore odd crazy socks on the ward round that day,” Dr Waxman said.

“His junior doctors asked, ‘Why are you wearing odd crazy socks?’”

“He replied: ‘It is to make you aware of your own mental health issues, which I had. Ask for help and stand on your own two, crazy socked feet’.”

Health workers can seek help from:

  • Gippsland Health Alliance mental health crisis line: 1300 363 322.
  • Nurse and midwife support helpline: 1800 667 877.
  • Organisational Employee Assistance Program.
  • Lifeline: 13 11 14.
  • Beyond Blue: 1300 22 4636.