Today is Loud Shirt Fairy Floss Friday, which recognises the disproportionate rates of suicide and mental illness among healthcare workers and intends to empower the healthcare community to take care of itself.
ACEM gives its support to Loud Shirt Fairy Floss Friday and encourages our members and trainees to wear loud shirts (and eat fairy floss) today to amplify the message of mental illness, and to encourage open and supportive conversation about mental illness in healthcare.
We asked organiser and FACEM trainee Luke Charles Smidmore about the day.
'I was keen to get involved with Fairy Floss Friday as I saw it being created from the passion of colleagues, friends, of mine - as they sought to fill a void, a day for us to reflect, to share, and to remind each other that there's others who know the challenges we go through. It was inspiring to see that through such a simple, light-hearted initiative, people were able to spread awareness and solidarity of a reality that haunts many of us. I hope that we can continue to spread the word, and even if we change just one healthcare worker's life - it'd all be worth it, but we hope to change many more.
I think it represents our own power to make a difference for ourselves. We focus so much of our energy in to our work, our patients, and we can lose sight of caring for each other, and most importantly, ourselves.
Working as a junior doctor is a Pandora's box of challenges, situations that are both intellectually and emotionally charged. It's easy to fall in to the trap of believing you're going through it alone, and just having your colleagues demonstrate their solidarity is comforting. Not only that, but it brings together so many different organisations and pathways that we can seek help in a much more practical way -- and knowing there are different ways to find help and support is the first step in solving the deeply rooted tragedy of junior doctors struggling with their own mental health and falling victim of suicide.'
ACEM provides a range of resources to support members and trainees with their mental health and wellbeing.
Those resources – including details of 24-hour help lines and our member assistance program – are available here.