Healthcare workers experience high rates of mental illness and depression

Loud Shirt Fairy Floss Friday put the spotlight on health workers’ mental health

Visitors to Wyong and Gosford Hospitals on Friday, February 7, would have noticed an unusual amount of fairy floss around the grounds, as staff across the Central Coast Local Health District (CCLHD) celebrated the fourth annual Loud Shirt Fairy Floss Friday.

Clinical and non-clinical staff across the Coast donned some crazy shirts and indulged in fairy floss throughout the day to raise awareness of the high rate of mental illness among healthcare professionals.

Event Founder and organiser of the annual festivities, Dr Michael Kale, said it was a light hearted way to highlight a serious issue.
“Staff wore their loud shirts and enjoyed free fairy floss to shine a light on the importance of supporting healthcare workers who spend their lives helping others,” Dr Kale said.
“We hope the day will help empower staff to talk to each other about their mental health and wellbeing, and encourage them to seek support if they need it.

“Working in healthcare is very rewarding but can also be challenging.
“Helping people when they are often very unwell can be very stressful, so it is essential that we support each other,” he added.
According to Dr Kale, healthcare professionals experience higher rates of mental illness and depression than the rest of the community.
“Rates of suicide amongst this group are also much higher, particularly for doctors.

“Wearing loud shirts and indulging in bright pink fairy floss reminds everyone that we are humans too,” Dr Kale said.
“It’s a great chance to get together in a fun environment and start the conversation on a very serious topic, and to tell depression to get flossed,” he added.
CCLHD CEO, Dr Andrew Montague, said he was proud of the work done by staff to support their colleagues and raise awareness of this important issue.

“It is wonderful that this event is aimed at all healthcare workers, both clinical and non-clinical.
“Mental health issues don’t discriminate, and it’s so important to highlight that it’s an issue which can face us all,” Dr Montague said.

If you or someone you know needs help, contact BeyondBlue on 1300 224 636 or Lifeline on 131 114.

Media release, Feb 2
Central Coast Local Health District