Great Britain

Love Island’s Dr Alex George says ‘I could actually cry’ as PM pledges £79million to boost kids’ mental health support

LOVE Island's Dr Alex George said he was "so happy he could cry" after the government announced children's mental health services will be given a £79million cash injection.

The A&E doctor was pictured with Boris Johnson today, who has pledged to support young people find their feet after these unprecedented times.

The 30-year-old, who has recently been appointed as a Youth Mental Health Ambassador, took to Instagram and wrote: "This is a huge moment! I am so pleased to announce that the government has approved £79million for your mental health!

"I could actually cry, I have been pushing so hard for this but it couldn’t have happened without the incredible work of everyone involved. 

"This has been a team effort, including incredible individuals such as Claire Murdoch CBE (a hero of mine), Professor Prathiba Chitsabesan as well as the many wonderful charities, organisations and experts involved. 

I could actually cry, I have been pushing so hard for this but it couldn’t have happened without the incredible work of everyone involved.

Dr Alex George

"Thank you especially to the students, parents and teachers who have made us all stop and listen. You are incredible."

Dr George has been campaigning for better support following the death of his younger brother, Llyr, last year.

The 19-year-old, who was due to attend medical school, took his own life after suffering mental health issues.

Boris Johnson branded the pandemic "brutal" during an interview with other mental health campaigners.

"We recognise lockdown has been pretty brutal for a lot of people particularly for young people who haven't been in school and haven't had the emotional support from being with peer group."

"We must make sure we de-stigmatise all of this talk about people's mental health and help people to be more mentally resilient."

The number of mental health support teams in schools and colleges will grow from 59 to 400 by April 2023 - giving vital support to nearly three million children.

There will also be an increase in capacity for Eating Disorder Services, which have seen a staggering 128 per cent increase in the number of patients waiting for routine treatment compared to last year.

Growing up is tough enough even at the best of times, so in these very difficult times, it's been even tougher.

Matt Hancock

Dr Agnes Ayton, the chair of the Eating Disorder Faculty at the Royal College of Psychiatrists, said the number of people experiencing problems had risen sharply with conditions such as anorexia thriving in the isolation and uncertainty of lockdown.

She said: “We expect the tsunami [of patients] is still coming. We don’t think it has been and gone.”

NHS research taken during the pandemic has shown that one in six young people may be battling a mental health condition, up from one in nine in 2017.

Speaking earlier from Downing Street, Matt Hancock said: "Growing up is tough enough even at the best of times, so in these very difficult times, it's been even tougher. 

"Monday will be a long awaited day for some people, but for some it's also a moment of unease and anxiety," he continued. 

"We need to make sure we get the help to young people, to help them get through this and get life going again and give them the support they need. 

"We've worked hard throughout the pandemic to make sure mental health services stay open, we've set up 247 support for those in need, and I'm delighted to announce today that we will be allocating an extra £79million pounds to boost mental health support for children and young people. 

The £79million is part of a £500m fund for mental health services, according to the BBC.

Youth Mental Health Ambassador Dr Alex George gives advice on how to look after your health during the pandemic

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