Alex George, the A&E doctor who found fame on the 2018 series of Love Island, has been appointed as the Youth Mental Health Ambassador for the UK government.
This announcement came after the reality star used his social media platforms to publicly address the Prime Minister Boris Johnson. Dr Alex requested to speak with Mr Johnson regarding his campaign to better mental health provisions for young people. His request was granted; on 3rd February Mr George attended a meeting at 10 Downing Street. The reality star is an established online campaigner for wellbeing, using his vast following (over 1.8 million) to share health tips and encourage everything from breathing exercises to help relieve anxiety to chlamydia testing.
As those readers who follow him may be aware, Alex has become an increasingly passionate online activist for young people’s mental health, following the tragic loss of his younger brother to suicide last July. He’s using his platform positively, encouraging young men especially to speak up if they’re struggling. In a recent interview , the doctor explained his wish to normalise conversations surrounding mental health and also to develop a strategy which would allow children to better understand and unpack their feelings. Speaking up about your struggles, Dr Alex emphasises, is NOT a sign of weakness. We need to work together in order to abolish this stigma.
The A&E doctor and reality star will be using both his clinical experience and personal dedication to this issue in order to advise the government and shape future policy. Together, they hope to improve education and support and implement reformed services in schools, colleges and universities across the UK. Doctor Alex will sit on the new Mental Health in Education Action Group, which is being led by children’s minister Vicky Ford.
The announcement of his new role came during Children’s Mental Health Week – a week where we saw that Doctor Alex was not the only one using his platform for good during these times. Katie Thistleton, the Presenter of Radio 1’s Life Hacks and ambassador for Young Minds, also encouraged her thousands of social media followers to be and express themselves. The Duchess of Cambridge, patron of the national children’s mental health charity Place2Be, also shared a message of support via video. She addressed both children and parents, encouraging them to share their thoughts and feelings with others during these incredibly challenging times.
The impact of this past year on children and young people has been immense. University students across the UK have been sharing their experiences regarding their lack of support from various institutions throughout the crisis. But after months of frustration and disappointment, young people are finally beginning to feel that their voices are being heard through this new appointment of Dr Alex.
Let’s hope, for the sake of all children and young people, that Dr. Alex George will live up to his promises and that the UK will be a brighter and safer place in the near future.
Words By: Olivia Snelson
Edited By: Megan Clayton