Wear your mismatched crazy socks to celebrate medical heroes 

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If the Covid-19 pandemic was a war, the brave healthcare workers protecting the rest of the people against this lethal and invisible enemy, would have been in the firing line.

It is for this reason that the Ithemba Foundation has organised the #Care4OurCarers for this year’s #CrazySocks4Docs (CS4D) Day, which will take place on Friday 29 May.

The Ithemba Foundation is a non-profit organisation 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 Director, Dr Marita van Schalkwyk, explains in a statement issued by the University of the Free State (UFS), that healthcare professionals now need support more than ever and people need to show it in a visual way.

“We are therefore requesting the public to wear funky mismatched socks on Friday. This includes everyone in the health professions, also academic and administrative staff on our medical campuses, as well as our future caregivers – our medical students.”

The Head of the Support School of Medicine at UFS, Dr Lynette van der Merwe, says healthcare practitioners and Health Sciences students have always been at risk of burnout and mental-health problems due to various demands, such as academic workload, emotional and physical challenges, or meeting regulatory standards.

“From research in the Faculty of Health Sciences on resilience, burnout and coping, we have seen that in spite of high levels of stress (whether personal, academic or work-related), adaptive coping strategies were associated with increased resilience and decreased burnout.”

Clinical psychologist in the School of Clinical Medicine, Angie Vorster, says that in 2020, more than any year before, societies are called upon to thank, celebrate and protect their doctors.

“In my position as the clinical psychologist for around 800 undergraduate medical students, I continue to be humbled and in awe of the immense dedication to serving others that medical students display.”

Van Schalkwyk says even those who sit behind desks in home-office style, can post their sock selfie on www.facebook.com/IthembaFoundation1 to show that they care.

She mentions that for medical students, there is a small bonus: Ithemba wants them to post their sock selfies on www.facebook.com/IthembaFoundation1 and encourage family and friends to like their sock selfies. The student with the most likes on each campus will get a cash prize of R1 000.

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