ACEM has again supported #crazysocks4docs, a day to encourage conversations about mental health and help reduce the stigma for doctors experiencing mental illness.
The day was started by Dr Geoff Toogood, a cardiologist in Frankston, Victoria. He is a long-time campaigner for doctors' mental health.
President Dr Simon Judkins said: “We know that our careers are stressful, that our jobs can lead to burnout and depression. We know that doctors are a group who are at a high level of risk for mental health issues and suicide.
“We also know that our efforts to address these issues, to support clinicians, to recognise the signs, see the red flags and provide the first meaningful contact with a colleague isn't easy, but it is a step we all need be able to take. There is help available, but often it is that first step which is the hardest to make.”
Dr Judkins urged members and trainees to think about how they would take that first step. “Think about how you might find a moment to reach out to a colleague. Think about how a fleeting ‘RUOK?’ may not be enough but sitting down, making eye contact, taking time to state ‘I really mean this, I'm here. I want to know if you are really OK’ may be what is really needed,” Dr Judkins said.
“We need to do better. Our work environment is tough. There are things which impact us which we need to strongly advocate for, but we sometimes feel we don't have control over – the system we work in can really suck sometimes. I get that.
“But what we can do is support each other. I would ask each one of you to take a moment, take a deep breath and ask a colleague if they are OK. Then, take a deep breath and ask yourself.
“I hope the answer is a ‘Yes’ and a ‘Yes’. If not, it's time to change that.”
ACEM has a number of options to support trainees throughout their training and beyond, and FACEMs’ health and wellbeing.
ACEM’s Wellbeing Network is available to all trainees and members, providing an opportunity to source resources, initiatives and events and exchange ideas with colleagues.