Episode 44: Geoff Toogood - From severe depression to mental health advocacy through #CrazySocks4Docs

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To help raise awareness about #CrazySocks4Docs this episode’s guest is Dr Geoff Toogood.

Geoff is a Cardiologist at Peninsula Health and in Private Practice in Melbourne, Australia. He is also a Board Member of South West Health Care, Ambassador for Beyond Blue and Ambassador for Masters Swimming Victoria. He is both a pool and open water swimmer, having competed at National and International level, using swimming for his mental wellbeing. Geoff has completed a relay across the English Channel, swum solo in the Rottnest Island swim and many other open water and pool swims.

Despite having a cardiologist on the show, this is mostly a talk about mental health, rather than cardiology. Geoff has had his share of mental health struggles, having had a period of anxiety early in his career and then more recently severe depression leading to suicidal ideation.

But most importantly, Geoff has used his story, told humbly and vulnerably, to create awareness about Doctors mental health and to break the stigma, through the CrazySocks4Docs movement, which you’ll hear about today.

All healthcare workers are at risk of mental health issues. They are more common than we realise. Mental health disorders can lead to burnout, divorce and suicide. We must talk more about this issue; so we can understand this, do things to help reduce the risk, and to help each other when we identify mental ill health in our colleagues.

If we talk about this as an industry, we will hopefully all be better off. We, ourselves. Our colleagues. And more importantly, our patients.

The conversation on this podcast covers:

  • Why Geoff got into medicine and then into cardiology
  • How cardiology has changed over his career
  • His mental health journey starting with anxiety as a younger doctor
  • How this progressed to depression and then suicidal ideation
  • Some of the symptoms he felt, and the ways he supported himself
  • His need to take leave from work and what that meant
  • The problems of needing to see mental health professionals
  • Dealing with telling his colleagues at work
  • The contribution of a medical work schedule and other life stressors
  • His current wellbeing strategies including sleep and swimming
  • His impressive swimming career and how this acts as mindfulness
  • How helpful it’s been to him to tell his story
  • Thoughts on resilience and the stigma of mental ill health
  • How the Crazy Socks For Docs movement began
  • About the 2019 #CrazySocks4Docs day on June 7th
  • The #CrazySocks4Docs Panel Discussion being held on May 31st 2019
  • How his mental health is now
  • The value of mindfulness and yoga as wellbeing tools

Hearing about Geoff’s struggles, how he has dealt with them, and his ongoing advocacy, is more than helpful. It’s powerful.

Please enjoy listening to Geoff Toogood.

Andrew Davies

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About the Mastering Intensive Care podcast: The podcast is aimed to inspire and empower you to bring your best self to the intensive care unit, through conversations with thought-provoking guests. I hope you’ll glean insights to help you improve as a healthcare professional and as a human being so you can make a truly valuable contribution to your patient’s lives.

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Links to people, organisations and other resources mentioned:

Geoff Toogood on Twitter: @gdtoogood

Crazy Socks For Docs website

Crazy Socks For Docs on Twitter: @crazysocks4docs

Crazy Socks For Docs on Instagram: @crazysocks4docs

Crazy Socks For Docs on Facebook

Geoff Toogood on LinkedIn

Peninsula Health

South West Health Care

Masters Swimming Victoria

Beyond Blue

Lifeline

English Channel Swim

Pier to Pub Swim

Portsea Swim Classic

Rottnest Island Swim

Dr Sally Cockburn

Prof Michael Myers on Twitter: @downstatedoctor

Dr Kate Harding on Twitter: @katejh1970

Dr Yumiko (Miko) Kadota on Twitter: @mindbodymiko

Article 1 written by Geoff Toogood

Article 2 written by Geoff Toogood

Articles 3 & 4 written by Geoff Toogood

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Video of talk by Geoff Toogood

Video of TV show featuring Geoff Toogood

New Normal Project podcast

New Normal Project podcast - Episode 53 with John Orchard

Mastering Intensive Care podcast - Episode 32 with Kate Harding

Mastering Intensive Care podcast - Episode 43 with Jo Stewart

Mastering Intensive Care page on Facebook

Mastering Intensive Care at Life In The Fast Lane

Andrew Davies on Twitter: @andrewdavies66

Andrew Davies on Instagram: @andrewdavies66

Email Andrew Davies

44 episodes available. A new episode about every 18 days averaging 70 mins duration .