Dr Alex George: youth mental health ambassador and frontline hero

Is there anything this man can't do?

Dr Alex George

by Ruby Norris |

Three series of Love Island later and it's safe to say the 2018 gave us some of the most iconic Islanders ever.

From series winners Jack Fincham and Dani Dyer (RIP) to reality TV veteran Megan Barton-Hanson, the class of 2018 has gone nowhere fast.

And one Islander who may have not been lucky in love in the villa but certainly stole the hearts of the nation was Dr Alex George, who's gone on to do some BIG things since narrowly missing out on the final with Alexandra Cane. There's been the whole working-on-the-frontline-during-the-global-pandemic thing and his work with government to make mental health care a matter of national importance, and that's not even the half of it.

Here's everything you need to know about Dr Alex George.

Alex-George-Love-Island
©ITV2

Dr Alex on Love Island

Let's start at the beginning, shall we?

Alex - as he was known back then – was one of the ten original Islanders to enter the villa and coupled up with Samira Mighty on day one. For the majority of his time on the show Alex and Samira were coupled up in a friendship couple, but all that changed when one Ellie Brown entered the villa on day twenty and captured the heart of our Alex.

It wasn't to last though, and after a brief dalliance with Casa Amor bombshell Grace Wardell Alex's final recoupling landed him with Alexandra Cane.

Despite being a stone's throw from the final, Dr Alex called it a day with Alexandra during their final date (à la Jake Cornish and Liberty Poole, natch) and passed over their chance at the £50k to Wes Nelson and Megan Barton-Hanson.

Alex-George-Love-Island
©ITV2

Before entering the villa, Dr Alex shared his hopes for more TV work in the future, predicting with eerie accuracy, “I would probably go back and do it part time, if I could mix it with TV work I would.

“I think there’s probably room for a new TV doctor!”

Well, he wasn't wrong, was he?

Dr Alex George Covid

Alex did indeed go back to work at Lewisham and Greenwich hospital, and just two short years after first appearing on our screens he was on the front line fighting Covid 19.

In December last year he implored followers to "do their bit", uploading a photo of himself in full PPE and captioning the post on Instagram, "Guys things are pretty rough at the moment. I would say at least as bad as March in the hospital.

"We need to brace ourselves over the next few months and make sure we are each doing our bit. We will get through it but at the moment it’s time for us all to focus and do our best to control the spread.

"Big thanks to everyone as always, this isn’t easy but we will beat this virus and navigate to better times."

In March this year he posted, "I always want to be honest with you guys and the last thing I want is for my page to be a highlight of good days, hiding the bad. It’s been a long and hard year, which ultimately takes it’s toll. I have really felt it this week and I am aware I need a break.

"I am taking a full week off from Tuesday. Recognizing when you are becoming stressed and acting on it, is so important. To be able to do this I need to look after my physical and mental health. Never be ashamed to take a break, when you need it. I believe it’s a sign of self awareness and ultimately strength.

"Happy Sunday everyone and remember to be kind to yourself 💙."

Dr Alex George brother Llŷr

Despite his fame and medical credentials, nobody is immune to tragedy and in July 2020 Alex shared the utterly heartbreaking news that his little brother, Llŷr, had died by suicide.

"I can’t believe I am actually writing this post. I have lost my beautiful little brother to mental health. I love you so much Llŷr," he wrote.

"The kindest and most caring soul. I was so proud of you starting medical school next month, you would have been the most incredible doctor. We are hurting so bad. No words can explain. As a family we are devastated. We love you and miss you so much. Please rest in peace x Our boy."

During an appearance on Lorraine months later, he said he felt "tremendous guilt instantly" following his brother's death.

"You know, I'm the older brother, I always wanted to protect him, look after him," he said. "I thought, 'What could I have done differently? I'm supposed to be a mental health advocate and all the work I've done around it.'

"So it was anguish. It was the worst thing. Mental health and physical health is akin. Just as you can have a heart attack and pass away, mental health is just the same. It is an illness. That's why it's so important we treat it that way."

Speaking about spending the first Christmas as a family without Llyr, he said in December, “Going towards Christmas is hard. Some days are good days, some days are bad days. Grief is an evolving thing. I've never had to grieve like this before.

“People say 'oh Alex you do all this stuff, you achieve all this stuff', and actually sometimes it's not a good thing. Stopping and processing is a part of grief. Sometimes, I have to slow down and take more time to allow myself to feel what I feel.”

Dr Alex George Ambassador

In typical Dr Alex fashion, he turned the tragedy of losing his brother into incentive to make a real change in how we think about and treat mental health problems.

In February 2021, he was appointed as youth mental health ambassador to the Government.

Sharing the incredible news with followers, Alex said, "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.

"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."

And Prime Minister Boris Johnson said at the time, "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."

Dr Alex on therapy

As well as all his admirable work in the public eye (seriously, his parents must be so proud), Alex has been open about his personal struggles with his mental health and as part of our Where's Your Head At campaign he spoke about using therapy as part of his mental health management.

"When you look at risk factors for problems with mental health, one of the things you look at is big life changes; whether it's family dynamics, losing a job or changes in a relationship," he said. "Also, massive shifts in your life; and coming out of a reality TV show like Love Island is a big change.

"Most of it's vastly positive, but it takes a lot of getting used to. I did feel like my life had changed a lot. Because of a lot of things that happened on Love Island, I've had some therapy and also even after the show; getting used to everything. Not because I'm not happy, but I am aware that I've experienced different things that I need to process and that's normal.

"I think that sometimes we worry so much about what it means to ask for help or to try and process things [thinking] that there must be something wrong.

"A lot of times in life things happen to us; some things that are good and some that are bad and we need to process them. I think that's a part of normal life, so that's why I asked to have some therapy and I find it very useful. In fact I had therapy this morning, which was great."

Dr Alex #PostYourPill campaign

As if he couldn't get any more great, in November Dr Alex set out to single handedly end medication stigma when he launched his #PostYourPill campaign, urging followers to post their mental health medication alongside a description of what they use it for.

Alongside a photograph of his own white pill, Alex wrote, o many people live with medication stigma everyday, a fear that they will be judged as being weak or discriminated against, simply for taking a pill to help with their mental health. The other day I did a pole on my stories and 75% of you have faced medication stigma. That is so sad.

"I take medication, alongside therapy and self care, to help with my anxiety. I really needed this treatment but for years I didn’t access it, on reflection I was worried about what people would think. I can tell you now, I am not ashamed. I AM PROUD to take control of my own health. This does not make me weak or less able, it makes me stronger.

"How many people are not getting the treatments they need AND deserve because of this very stigma? This HAS to change. This post is not about saying medication is the ‘answer’ for everyone, rather to say that for those who need it should have access without barriers or shame.

"If you feel you can, join me with #postyourpill to take a stand against medication stigma 💙."

Seriously, could we love him any more?

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