07 June 2024

Doctors should be able to reach out for help too: RACGP

Australia’s peak body for general practitioners (GPs) is calling for changes to rules that discourage them from seeking help for mental health on Crazy Socks for Docs Day, Friday 7 June 2024.  

Crazy Socks for Docs Day was started in 2017 by Dr Geoffrey Toogood to address mental health stigma among health practitioners. 

The Royal Australian College of GPs (RACGP) President Dr Nicole Higgins said: “It can be challenging for doctors to reach out for mental health help. 

“The problem is not only stigma, but also mandatory reporting laws which require treating practitioners to report their colleagues if they believe their health condition places the public at risk.  

“GPs have the right to confidential care and support like anyone else. They should not fear repercussions if they need to reach out. These laws need to change. 

“Crazy Socks for Docs Day is a great initiative by Dr Geoffrey Toogood. It has created a safe space for GPs and other doctors to have a conversation about mental health and wellbeing.  

“I encourage Australia’s GPs to check in with your colleagues and practice team. And if you or someone you know needs support, please don’t hesitate to seek it – and know that it's okay to not be okay.”  

The RACGP provides members a range of mental health resources with strategies for self-care, and a free support program with telephone counselling. 
A free and confidential mental health support service called Doctors 4 Doctors is also available for medical professionals, including students, with trained psychologists and counsellors. 

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