“Mental health can be such an unsexy subject,” says Alex George. This is the message that the A&E doctor and former Love Island contestant will “really try to get across” in his new job as the government’s youth mental health ambassador. He doesn’t mean that the job is to add sex appeal, although he has 1.8m followers on Instagram, people call the hospital where he works to ask if “Dr Alex” is on duty, and, in the first lockdown, he taped a topless shot from his Love Island days to the chest of his PPE.
What he means is that he wants to make mental health a positive issue. He is irked that every time he asks children: “When I say ‘physical health’, what words come to mind?”, they mention such things as exercise, running and Joe Wicks. “But if you say: ‘What’s mental health?’ they go: ‘Depression, anxiety, sadness.’”