Odd Socks Day helps to tackle stigma and discrimination around mental health
National mental health organisation Grow Australia knows that anyone can have an odd day – a day where things are not quite right. To symbolise this, and reduce stigma and discrimination about mental health, the group are urging people to wear odd socks to work and in the community on Friday to increase visibility around the issue.
Grow National CEO David Butt encouraged all Australians to “get involved – pull on a pair of odd socks and show that people struggling with their mental health are not alone. Mental illness is not something affecting ‘other people’ – anyone can have an odd day.”
Mental health and wellbeing is of special importance to those working in early childhood education and care (ECEC) not only from the aspect of having understanding of children and families living with mental illness, but also for ensuring that educators are well placed to guide, support and care for young children in their charge.
Since 2013, Odd Socks Day has been celebrated on the Friday before Mental Health Week and World Mental Health Day. In 2018, an estimated 500,000 people were connected to Odd Socks Day, and Grow is seeking to increase that engagement this year.
“Wearing Odd Socks is a great way to kick off action against stigma about mental ill-health and to raise awareness in the community, the workplace and in educational settings,” Mr Butt said.
Stigma around mental health issues remains a major barrier to recovery, he added. One in two Australians experience mental health issues across a lifetime, but many do not seek help because of stigma, and other barriers such as long wait lists for specialised support, or lack of access in rural and remote areas.
“We are urging people to wear a pair of odd socks this Friday, hold an event and show your support for the community. Seeking help early and having the assistance and understanding from family, friends and work colleagues are essential aspects to wellbeing and recovery,” Mr Butt said.
To become formally involved in the campaign, register here, or share photos via social media using the hashtag #OSD2019