Students and staff at the Faculty wore funky mismatched socks on 29 May 2020 to show that they care for doctors on the front-line. The annual CrazySocks4Docs Day aims to raise awareness about mental health amongst health care workers.
Health care workers have been at the forefront of fighting the COVID-19 pandemic. Health care workers in South Africa have been courageous in facing the invisible enemy. Many may not be able to comprehend the stress and pressures health care workers face in the fight against this pandemic.
Medical professionals are usually stretched under normal circumstances, and now they have to focus their time, energy and expertise on overcoming Covid-19. Statistics show that medical professionals suffer the most when it comes to mental health issues, and they have had to devote more of their time to patients due to the pandemic which has taken a toll on their mental health.
Unfortunately, in extreme cases, the burnout and trauma that front-line doctors have been exposed to has led to one brave doctor in the USA losing her life to suicide. This is why society was encouraged to show that they #Care4OurCarers in this year’s #CrazySocks4Docs (CS4D) day.
The Ithemba Foundation organises CS4D, a non-profit with two public benefit goals, namely to raise awareness around depression and other related diseases such as anxiety, as clinical, biological diseases, and to support research. Ithemba means hope in isiXhosa – the message being that if depression is the illness of despair, we need to hang on to hope. In the words of Ithemba Director Dr Marita van Schalkwyk: “As health care workers, we must undertake to serve the sick and needy, but we must also look out for one another, help one another, inspire one another and seek help when we cannot keep up the demanding pace. There is always hope (ithemba).”