Love Island’s Dr Alex appointed as government’s youth mental health ambassador | Ents & Arts News
Love Island’s Dr Alex has been announced by Boris Johnson as the government’s mental health youth ambassador.
The role, which comes as part of Children’s Mental Health Week, will see the A&E doctor and reality star work closely with government to improve the education and support for young people across schools, colleges and universities.
As well as his job fighting coronavirus on the frontline, Dr Alex has been a passionate online campaigner for issues surrounding young people’s wellbeing, after battling with his own mental health and tragically losing his younger brother to suicide last July.
The reality star explained it was one of his reasons behind taking up the role, saying: “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.”
In his new role, Dr Alex will also sit on the new mental health in education action group, chaired by children’s minister Vicky Ford and universities minister Michelle Donelan.
Speaking on Twitter, the 27-year-old star said: “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.”
The reality star appeared in a video with Mr Johnson where they discussed the stigma around mental health and the issues that young people are facing.
Dr Alex told the prime minister he is “really, really passionate about helping young people through what has been an incredibly difficult time”.
“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,” he added.
Mr 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 wanted to shine a spotlight on this vital issue ahead of their return to school.”
The role comes after the introduction of a number of government support initiatives aimed at addressing the mental impact of the pandemic on young people.
The wellbeing for education return project has provided councils funding so they can offer training advice from mental health experts to schools and colleges, while 180 mental health support teams have been introduced across the UK.
Despite the emphasis on mental health services, campaigners have warned about long wait times for those trying to access support and a study from the Royal College of Psychiatrists suggests two-fifths of patients waiting for mental health treatment contact emergency or crisis services.