Celebrity influencers have recently come under fire for travelling unnecessarily for ‘work’ in Dubai, and other holiday destinations, during a global pandemic. The British public took to social media to highlight their thoughts on the situation, which caused many influencers to lose thousands of followers, due to their actions. But there is one influencer who is using his platform for the better; Dr Alex George, who found fame after being a contestant on Love Island in 2018.
Yesterday, we found out that Dr Alex had been appointed by the Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, as a Youth Mental Health Ambassador for the government. He will be part of the Mental Health in Education Action Group, set up specifically to look at people returning to school after lockdown.
He took to Instagram to break the news to his followers:
“WE DID IT!! You called and the PM answered!! I have been appointed as the Ambassador for Mental Health. It hasn’t sunk in yet and I’m not sure it ever will. I am truly humbled. In my role, I will be working closely with the Government to make mental health an absolute priority. Never has mental health been more important than now. From schools to universities, the NHS and the wider public, MENTAL HEALTH MATTERS. For the current as well as future generations, we must do everything in our power to bring meaningful change.”
Sadly, the new role comes after losing his brother, Llŷr, to suicide last year.
“I lost my brother this summer, he was 19, about to go to medical school, and we were incredibly proud of him as a family and sadly he took his own life. And I think the pressures of this pandemic played a huge part.
“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.
If you have been following Dr Alex on TikTok or Instagram, you would have seen that he has continued to work in A&E during the pandemic, at University Hospital Lewisham in London. Since Love Island 2018, he has used his platforms to show his daily routine as a frontline worker and encourage his followers to recognise the effects of mental health; even showing how to do breathing exercises for anxiety.
Last month, Dr Alex publicly requested to speak to the Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, to discuss his campaign for better mental health provisions in education. He stated:
“DEAR BORIS JOHNSON,
“Our children have a right to receive quality mental health education and support that adequately prepares them for the world in which we live.
“I have spent the last few months speaking with mental health charities, teachers, parents and education leads and we all agree that things need to change. From my discussions and research, I believe there are clear areas that we can and must improve on.
“Education and support for emotional and mental wellbeing need to be treated with the same importance as core subjects such as Maths and English. Happy and well-supported children are much more likely to enjoy and engage in education and become well-rounded adults and more able to cope with the pressures of modern life. This has never been more important, especially with the effects of the pandemic. Too many lives are lost each year to suicide, each one of them a potentially preventable loss of life. How many more lives must we lose before we act?”
Yesterday, a video emerge on YouTube of Dr Alex George and Prime Minister Boris Johnson discussing the stigma around mental health and the issues that young people, in particular, are facing.
Dr Alex shared: “We can’t prevent bad things happening in the world but if we can give people that toolkit so that when things go wrong, they know how to look after themselves, they know who to go to.”
“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 wanted to shine a spotlight on this vital issue ahead of their return to school,” stated Johnson.
The support on Twitter for Dr Alex has taken over everyone’s timelines, with many tweets highlighting the differences between him and other influencers who are former Love Island contestants.
Dr Alex’s selfless actions has raised a debate among the British public on whether they want to continue supporting celebrity influencers, who only use their platforms to promote beauty and clothing brands, in 2021. His tireless campaigning for mental health awareness in education, whilst working the front line as an A&E doctor, during a pandemic, is a perfect example of what influencers, in 2021, should be.