COLOURFUL, odd socks are bound to draw attention and that they did at Bass Coast Health (BCH) on Friday for all the right reasons.

Staff at BCH’s Wonthaggi Hospital, San Remo site and Phillip Island Health Hub donned whacky socks to promote discussion about the mental health challenges doctors and other health workers face.

Mental health problems are higher among healthcare staff than other professions.

BCH staff supported the cause by taking part in an online virtual panel that featured fascinating speakers.

They were:

  • Christine Morgan, CEO of National Mental Health Commission and National Suicide Prevention Adviser to the Prime Minister.
  • Professor Ian Hickie, Co-Director (Health and Policy) University of Sydney, Brain and Mind Centre.
  • Georgie Harman, CEO of Beyond Blue.
  • Associate Professor Tony Walker, CEO of Ambulance Victoria.
  • Professor Michael Kidd, Principal Media Advisor and Deputy Chief Medical Officer, Department of Health.
  • Professor Michael Myers, Professor of Clinical Psychiatry, SUNY Downstate Health Sciences University (New York).

BCH staff welcomed Bass MP Jordan Crugnale, who expressed the state government’s appreciation for BCH staff continuing to support the community through the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Our health workforce have been preparing themselves and our community for a potential surge in COVID-19 cases by undertaking additional training, and ensuring facilities and procedures are in place to be able to cope,” Ms Crugnale said.

“That preparation effort reflects the quality of the health service we are fortunate to have in the Bass Coast.”

“The demanding roles that healthcare workers undertake can place them at risk of experiencing mental health challenges and while they work hard to care for us, it’s important that the community recognises they are humans too and are prone to their own mental health challenges.

“That’s why I’m proud to back Crazy Socks 4 Docs Day, even wearing a pair of colourful socks myself.”

Bass Coast Health CEO Jan Child knows the challenges of working on the frontline of health – she is a registered nurse.

“We do the job because we love working with people and ensuring they are in the best state of health,” she said.

“It’s important that healthcare workers also take the time to recognise when they need to address stress, depression and other mental health conditions they may be experiencing.”

Crazy Socks 4 Docs Day began when a Frankston cardiologist, recovering from depression, found his dog had chewed his socks.

The doctor had no choice but to wear odd crazy socks on the ward round that day.

When his colleagues queried his choice of fashion, 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.”

BCH staff also welcomed the announcement by Jenny Mikakos MP of a $350,000 funding boost to the Victorian Nursing and Midwifery Health Program and $500,000 for the Victorian Doctors Health Program.

 

Healthcare 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.