Dr Alex George has shared a mental health warning about children returning to school.
The coronavirus pandemic’s on-and-off lockdowns have been playing havoc with children’s routines and education. Homeschooling has become the new norm with the pandemic meaning schools have been shut for months at a time.
Now Dr Alex, who was recently appointed as the government’s Ambassador for Mental Health by Boris Johnson, has warned that children whose anxiety levels have spiked during the pandemic could be negatively impacted by a sudden return to school.
The 2018 Love Island star and A&E doctor has been advocating for mental health awareness since his 19-year-old brother Llyr committed suicide last year, just as he was about to start medical school.
The Prime Minister has announced that he has hopes to begin the re-opening of schools in England from 8th March, depending on a number of factors including Covid case rates and if Covid vaccination targets continue to be met.
Meanwhile, schools in Wales are aiming to allow children aged three to seven to return full-time from February 22nd.
But following the updates, Dr. Alex has said that schools need to be flexible with returning students and not to force them to go back to ‘normal’ immediately when schools reopen.
Speaking on the BBC Newscast podcast, he said, “You can’t just expect someone who’s very anxious to go back to school, will go back to normal.
“It might be that that child needs a bit of time to integrate slowly back in the classroom so that rather than chucking them in and exacerbating the problem, we do it gently.”
Alex added that forcing children back into school who are already feeling low or anxious may make them feel worse. Dr. Alex has spoken publically about the suicide of his younger brother and has said in an interview on BBC’S Newscast that young people need to take their mental health seriously.
Speaking to Newscast presenter Adam Fleming he said that children should be able to take time off for their mental wellbeing, “If you’ve been able to take time when you needed to, you’re probably more likely to not only be academically successful but take care of yourself physically as well.”