Mastering Intensive Care 044 with Geoff Toogood

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:

Scott is a deep-thinking man, very focused on understanding and practicing well considered and patient-oriented care particularly at the resuscitation end of intensive or critical care medicine, and is very good with spoken language.

Please enjoy listening to Scott Weingart.

  • 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.

People, organisations and resources mentioned in the episode:

Further reading and listening

Dr Andrew Davies LITFL Mastering Intensive Care

Dr Andrew Davies MBBS FRACP FCIC. Intensivist/researcher at Frankston Hospital, Melbourne. Aiming to bring my best self to work & life. | Mastering Intensive Care | New Normal project |

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