Prime Minister Boris Johnson has appointed Dr Alex as a mental health ambassador, to advise the government on the issues being faced by children and young people
Alex George, the doctor who rose to fame as a contestant on the 2018 series of Love Island, will play an important role in shaping children’s mental health education and support in schools.
The A&E doctor from Lewisham Hospital has been a passionate online campaigner for better mental health provision since he tragically lost his younger brother, Llŷr, to suicide last year, just weeks before he was due to start medical school.
Thanks to his huge social media following among young people, Dr Alex is well placed to signpost the support that is already available, as well as provide input and feedback to the government on what more can be done.
The Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, has appointed me as the Ambassador for Mental Health. I will be working with the Government to make mental health a priority, for both current and future generations. Now more than ever we realise how fundamental this is. It’s time for change 💙
— Dr Alex (@DrAlexGeorge) February 3, 2021
The announcement comes during Children’s Mental Health week and after a warning last week from Anne Longfield, the Children’s Commissioner for England, that mental health services do not have the capacity to cope with the impact of the pandemic on children.
Following this, Dr Alex’s role is part of new government plans to ensure all children and young people are supported with their mental health and wellbeing following the pandemic. Part of this is the new Wellbeing for Education Return project, which provides funding to councils to offer schools and colleges training and advice from mental health experts on how best to support their pupils.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson said: “Children and young people have heroically adapted to save lives and protect our NHS. This has understandably had a huge impact on their mental health, so I want to shine a spotlight on this vital issue ahead of their return to school.
“I’m delighted that Dr Alex George will be working with us as we do everything in our power to improve people’s mental wellbeing.”
I’m delighted to announce that we have appointed @DrAlexGeorge to be our Youth Mental Health Ambassador.
Young people have sacrificed so much during this pandemic and we are going to do everything we can to support them. pic.twitter.com/2HeiwsC9lI
— Boris Johnson (@BorisJohnson) February 3, 2021
Dr Alex will use both his clinical and personal experience to advise the government. He will help to shape policy on improving support for young people in schools, colleges and universities and also attempt to raise the profile of mental health education and wellbeing in schools.
In his announcement on Instagram, he wrote, “Nothing will bring my brother back but if I can make a positive impact that saves even one life, it will be worth moving mountains for.
“There is much work to be done. Particularly in the coming weeks and months. Thanks to each and every one of you for your incredible support. Thank you also to the Prime Minister and government for recognising our campaign and showing a desire to make a real change moving forward.”
He will take up the unpaid post immediately, working within the Department for Education. He will also sit on the new Mental Health in Education Action Group, which will look at how the government provides wellbeing support for young people as they return to school and university.
If you’re struggling and need to talk, the Samaritans are available and ready to listen. Just call 116 123 or email [email protected].