One such influencer is Dr Alex George, known by many for his stint on ITV’s hit TV show ‘Love Island’ in 2018. Alex, who works as a doctor in the NHS, also works to raise awareness of mental health issues, particularly amongst children and young people.
Speaking from the right platform
Last year Alex was appointed a UK Youth Mental Health Ambassador by the government after his brother Llŷr took his own life in 2020. With around 1.7 million followers on Instagram, Alex certainly has a wide audience and a relevant platform to help spread his message about mental health.
“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,” he said.
The role of mental health ambassador is unpaid. Alex is part of the Mental Health in Education Action Group which was set up specifically to support young people returning to school after lockdown. Part of the remit is looking at what support is available to young people in schools, colleges and universities, as well as signposting people to services that already exist to help. Alex also advises the government on what more can be done to support young people’s mental health.
On his appointment to the role, Alex commented on Instagram: “Never has mental health been as important as now. From schools to universities, the NHS and the wider public, mental health matters.”
Supporting mental health in Leicester
As part of this role, Alex visited the University of Leicester in March, meeting with students to discuss the impact of social media on young people’s mental health. The aim of the visit was to encourage the students to develop “positive mental health habits”. Alex spoke to students about the impact of social media on mental health, the importance of early intervention and the stigma surrounding men’s mental health. He also talked about his own experiences and issues when studying at medical school in a Q and A session with medical students.
Prior to his visit, Alex explained the importance of highlighting mental health issues, saying: “Ensuring young people can talk openly about mental health and have early access to support is vital. It’s great to see the wealth of support and resources that are dedicated to helping students at Leicester through every stage of their university lives.”
The University of Leicester has a dedicated Mental Health Hub, which promotes healthy habits for positive mental health and includes a wellbeing app to support students making good choices around physical and mental health as well as in social and financial affairs. There is also a working group which reviews mental health support services to ensure that students have access to help when needed.
Counselling support for students
Harborough Young People’s Counselling offers counselling services at Archway Health and Wellbeing centre in Market Harborough for children and young people aged up to 24, including university and college students. You can book a free 20 minute consultation by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or calling 01858 410 820.