Dr Alex George: Hardest part of brother's death was not having chance to help

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·3-min read
Dr Alex George admitted it was hard to believe a year had passed since his brother died. (ITV)
Dr Alex George admitted it was hard to believe a year had passed since his brother died. (ITV)

Dr Alex George admitted one of the hardest things about the death of his brother Llyr was not feeling he'd had a chance to help him.

The Love Island star - who has been appointed the UK's Youth Mental Health Ambassador - said it was hard to believe a whole year had passed since his younger brother tragically took his own life at the age of 19.

Read more: Dr Alex George pens moving message to late brother on his 20th birthday

Dr Alex, 30, told Ranvir Singh on ITV's Lorraine: “The hardest part is you’ll never have an absolute understanding of why… every day I think of my family, as does the rest of my family. We think a lot about ‘What if?’ and I wish we could speak to him and have that conversation.

“The hardest thing around losing Llyr was that we feel we didn’t have the chance to help him.

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"I think it’s very important to look out for change and behaviour in family members and friends who might be acting differently… If there’s anything you’re worried about and to ask them how they’re doing. 

"But we also need people to know that when they are struggling they can talk about it, and what I find very hard is that I don’t think Llyr felt that he could say it. It was there and I worry that shame was a big part of that.”

The NHS doctor has taken time out from his medical career to work with the Department for Education as the UK's first Youth Mental Health Ambassador and said he hopes to encourage more young men to talk about their mental health struggles, and not to feel shame in admitting they can't cope.

He said: "His exams were coming up and he was a bit nervous and worried about it, but nothing that we thought was a sign of anything happening… As I say, I think it’s the shame. 

"It’s so important that we work on that and it's amazing we are talking more about mental health now than we have ever done, but we have to realise there’s still a lot more to do, particularly around men and young men and changing this feeling that I shouldn’t be struggling and I shouldn’t ask for help. There is no shame in that. There is always hope.”

Ranvir Singh became emotional as she thanked Dr Alex George for helping other young people overcome mental health struggles. (ITV)
Ranvir Singh became emotional as she thanked Dr Alex George for helping other young people overcome mental health struggles. (ITV)

The NHS doctor, who works at University Hospital Lewisham, confessed: "I just can’t believe that the year has gone by. I went back a year ago and we didn’t know how we would get through it… How can you? It’s unbelievable… but it's amazing how with your family and your friends, the people around you, colleagues, you can get through anything and I think working in this role has given me a sense of purpose.”

Read more: Dr Alex George felt 'tremendous guilt' after death younger brother Llyr

Singh became emotional at the end of the interview, tearfully telling Dr Alex: "I think you’re amazing for what you do with all the pain you’ve carried. I feel quite emotional speaking to you because we all think of our own families… So thank you for everything you’re doing.”

If you are in need of emotional support you can call the Samaritans 24-hour helpline on 116 123, email jo@samaritans.org, visit a Samaritans branch in person or go to the Samaritans website, www.samaritans.org.

Watch: Dr Alex George shocked by Love Island contestants receiving death threats

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