To mark World Mental Health Day, Chelsea Foundation joined forces with Alex George at Fulham College Boys School to talk about mental health issues.
An A&E doctor at the University Hospital Lewisham in south-east London, George, who recently appeared on ITV’s Love Island, spoke to pupils on our Chelsea Champions programme at Fulham College Boys School about his personal mental health issues and how important it is to break the stigma on people talking about how they are feeling.
The Fulham College Boys School pupils, who were aged from 11 to 16 years old, then spoke in their discussion groups about possible initiatives and strategies they could use to encourage people to talk about their mental health.
Speaking at the event, Alex George said: ‘It’s fantastic that clubs like Chelsea are helping because it affects everyone – sports athletes, professionals within other industries, everyone in society is affected so having Chelsea take responsibility and trying to make a positive impact is really good from them.’
Ismahil Hashem, an 11-year-old student, said: ‘Mental health is just as important as physical health and I think people should concentrate on physical health just as much as mental health and people should take time out of their day to relax and support their minds.
‘Before today I just thought mental health was just depression and all negative things but today has really helped me understand that mental health can be positive things and also how we can all understand it and understand what people go through.’
Joanne Tighe, Chelsea Foundation senior Chelsea Champions officer, said: ‘The purpose of today was to bring in Dr Alex, known for being on Love Island but also as an A&E doctor to talk to the pupils about mental health.
‘It’s really important to use someone as a role model and also to engage with the students so they can interact with things around mental health which I think sometimes young people can shy away from or be scared talking about their emotions.
‘There is also a lot of stigma around males and mental health so it’s really important to have a cohort come to a school like Fulham College Boys School where we can really target the students within the student council to go and spread the word around the school.’
Our Chelsea Champions programme sees full-time staff placed within secondary schools, including Fulham College Boys School, in order to increase physical activity, support leadership qualities and improve emotional wellbeing and resilience of pupils through a number of universal, targeted and individual initiatives.