Since the passing of his younger brother, who sadly took his own life last year, Alex has put a heavy focus on educating his audience about the importance of not just physical, but mental health. During the pandemic, mental health has become an even greater struggle for many who have lost their jobs, lost family members, or generally feel isolated and alone.
Passionate to signify how important it is for us to recognise and protect our mental health, he shared an Instagram post of him and his brother in October, rounding up the caption by saying: “I have made a promise to Llŷr [his brother] that I will be relentless in my mission to bring change to mental health at schools. For you, my boy.”
Campaigning for better mental health
Alongside working in a busy A&E ward, Alex dedicated his 2020 to campaigning for better education and resources surrounding mental health. In November last year, Alex announced that he was writing a book titled ‘Live Well Every Day’. This was a project he had been working on for some time, but the passing of his brother drove Alex to complete the book. His brother was immensely proud of the book idea and alongside this, Alex was keen to release a resource that would help to improve the health of young people, both mental and physical.
On 3rd January 2021, Alex shared a post on Instagram that featured himself holding a handwritten sign that read ‘BORIS LET’S TALK #MentalHealthMatters’. Following discussions with mental health charities, teachers, parents, and educators, Alex decided to reach out to the UK government to propose some important changes to the UK educational syllabus that will help prevent the loss of young to suicide.
Thousands shared the Instagram post, and today, Alex shared the news that Prime Minister Boris Johnson has listened, and they had met to discuss Alex’s proposal.
An influential mental health ambassador
Alongside a photograph of Dr. Alex George and Boris Johnson – who were sat at a social distance – was a caption that read:
“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.”
Alex continued to share his gratitude for the position that he has been offered. He will take up the unpaid post immediately, working closely with the Department for Education – although remaining independent of government. He will also sit on the new Mental Health in Education Action Group, chaired by the children’s minister Vicky Ford and universities minister Michelle Donelan. Alex will aid the government by looking at how they provide wellbeing support for young people, especially as they return to school and university when COVID restrictions lift.
Watching Dr. Alex George be appointed the role of young mental health ambassador shows more evidence of governmental bodies employing influencers in their campaigns. Recent news covered information on the UK government’s‘ Test and Trace’ influencer marketing spend. Examples like these could be a sign of things to come, with the government recognising how they can benefit from the following and audiences that influencers hold.
Many people, majorly GenZ and Millenials, turn towards social media for their news now, as opposed to traditional news outlets. With this in mind, it makes sense that governmental bodies should consider assigning a greater budget towards influencer marketing, as the success and engagement that influencers pilot is undeniable when it comes to reaching and educating an audience.