EXCLUSIVE: The star of Love Island, Dr. Alex George, lost his brother Llŷr to suicide earlier this year and has found solace in speaking out about his grief in public – which he hopes will encourage people to speak out about their feelings and about mental health thinking
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Dr. Alex George has always been open about mental health and has used his post-Love Island platform to normalize and encourage honest discussions about how we really feel.
But in July the issue came to the fore when his younger brother Llŷr died of suicide and the family was subjected to unimaginable grief.
The A&E doctor and his family are now preparing for their first Christmas without the 20-year-old, and Alex admits it will be difficult.
Speaking to The Mirror as part of a campaign with Nuffield Health to raise awareness about mental health, he said, « It’s hard going towards Christmas. Some days are good days, some days are bad days. Grief is an evolving thing. I’ve never had to grieve like this.
« I am obviously a very motivated person, I like to work hard and I am busy. Sometimes I revise and also share it on my Instagram.
« People say, ‘Oh Alex, you do all of these things, you achieve all of these things,’ and in fact, sometimes it’s not a good thing. The pausing and processing is part of the grief.
« Sometimes I need to slow down and take more time so I can feel what I’m feeling.
« Otherwise, I keep putting things in front of myself all the time to keep busy. It’s something a lot of people do, it’s not unusual. That is why it is important to share it. People answer me and say « Thank you for saying that I felt normal ». .
The family plans to have a quiet Christmas this year, and Alex knows he needs to focus on the things that will help him through the grief.
He adds, « I love Christmas, I’m such a Christmassy person, but obviously this is going to be very difficult.
« The first one without a family member is always difficult. I think it’s going to be very difficult for the rest of us, but of course you can’t have a big Christmas with Covid.
« We’re going to have a very private Christmas this year and just get through it. There is no doubt that it will be difficult.
« It will be difficult for a lot of people. This year was tough, many people died from Covid. There are many people without family members. It is even more of a reason people should take care of themselves. «
« I haven’t felt well for the past few days, I’ve been grieving so I have to stick to the things that I know will help. « .
« So I made sure I got exercise, I did my HIIT workout, I ran a lot outside, lots of natural light, I avoided alcohol, I ate well, I called friends and just talked by how I felt.
« If you are having a difficult time, return to these building blocks and this routine.
« Contact us if you need any assistance. Your GP is there to help and support you and make sure you have someone to speak to. Talk to the person you can confide in. «
Alex is very open to his grief and hopes his people will honestly recognize that it is okay to speak up when necessary.
« Grief is a very individual thing. I think you have to deal with things the way you feel best.
« I find it a consolation that the people are so nice. There’s an element of support; social media is a two-way thing. My followers and the people who support me there are just as helpful to me as they are the other way around.
« Sharing this stuff helps me. For men and grief, it’s all about the barriers and the language.
« The idea that when you are grieving or upset it is weakness. I’m trying to expose all of that stuff. It’s not weak at all, in fact I think it shows a lot of strength when people share what they are feeling and being open about.
« But we shouldn’t be harsh with people either, because some people may want to mourn quietly and not talk to people, and that’s perfectly fine, too.
« What I don’t want is people not to share or talk about how they feel because they don’t feel able. If they want, they should be able to. «
After Llŷr died, Alex decided to take a social media hiatus, which he believed everyone should take at least once a year to take care of their sanity.
« I think it’s important that everyone have a digital detox. Even if it’s once a year, just take time out and have some time off.
« We’re so tied to our phones that I’m probably worse than most as a lot of my work involves social media, but this time off for me was really necessary at the time.
« It was shortly after his death. I needed time to focus on myself, to think and really be present and be with the family.
« I found it really beneficial. For anyone who thinks about it, do it. You come back a few weeks later and nothing changes. You may have missed a few posts, but who cares? It’s not important.
« We’re exaggerating something with social media. I actually think social media is really good, but everything has good and bad. This is how you use it. «
Unlike many of his co-stars on Love Island, Dr. Alex isn’t filled with edited professional photos, and he uses his accounts to give honest insight into the good and bad aspects of his daily life.
« You can understand why, you want to do your best and people want to use nice pictures of themselves, but people don’t show the full scenario.
« Nobody has a good day every day. Nobody walks around on this earth and has perfection every day.
« We all have difficult times. I felt like we were depicting certain elements on social media and I really wanted to be a lot more honest about that as I have good days and bad days.
« I think it’s important that we do this, and it’s important to normalize it, especially in men. There is no doubt that when it comes to suicide, it is a massive problem for men. They don’t tend to ask for help. We have to look at the barriers and why they are.
« The point is to teach everyone to be aware of how they are feeling and how to improve their sanity before it gets to this point.
« It’s about understanding the role of social media in detoxifying your social platform – evaluating your feeds so that you only see positive influences, and making sure you don’t spend too much time subscribing to them Leaving rewards on social media. «
Alex has partnered with Nuffield Health and the Mental Health Foundation to launch a new online questionnaire to encourage the UK to think more holistically about its mental wellbeing.
They fear that the subject has received overly medical treatment, which means that many people are afraid to talk about it.
The new project comes after a survey found that four in five Britons are concerned about the ongoing negative effects of the pandemic on their mental health, and 36% said they experienced increased levels of stress and anxiety.
Alex tells The Mirror, « Mental health is obviously very important to me, not just because I lost my brother this summer, but over the years I’ve really noticed how much mental health affects everyone.
« I think the big problem is that we may have overmedicized the way we think about mental health.
« With words like depression and even mental health itself, there is a weight in the words that I think is sometimes inaccessible for some people to care about our wellbeing.
« We are trying to show people that mental health affects everyone, and therefore we all have a responsibility to take care of ourselves and each other.
« This year has been tough and the pandemic has been terrible and it’s clear the impact this has had on people’s mental health. But the one thing we can get from this is that we now realize that we cannot treat mental health as a secondary thing that is at the bottom of the list of importance. «
Alex has worked in the A&E department at Lewisham Hospital during the Covid-19 pandemic and noted the mental health implications of patients and frontline colleagues.
« We have had a large number of patients. We were one of the hardest hit in the country.
« It was carnage. It went from zero to pretty bad in a very short time.
« At the beginning we had pods in front of the hospital. There were five or six patients a day going to ITU and the resus was full within a few weeks. It was hard.
« It was tough on the mental health of the staff. We recognize that employee wellbeing is also important. We really tried to work on it.
« It feels like we’re stable now. I just hope we can keep calm now until we get out in the spring. «
But like many other people, Alex is excited about the vaccine news and remembers the moment he found out it was officially approved.
« It was really emotional. I think people don’t know that at some point we didn’t know if we were going to get a vaccine. I think it was very likely, but how long would it take? What if we didn’t have a vaccine for four or five years?.
« We are very happy and very happy. I hope people realize what a scientific achievement this has achieved.
« The idea that the vaccine was rushed ticked all the boxes it needed under all of the instructions from our Medicines Agency. It wasn’t skipped, we just had so many resources.
« It’s amazing and gives all of us hope. It is important for sanity. We have to return to what we know to be normal sooner rather than later.
For more information, assistance and how to complete the questionnaire, please visit the Nuffield Health website.
Mental Health, Christmas Day
World News – AU – Dr. Alex about his « developing » grief before the « hard » first Christmas without a brother
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