Accident and Emergency doctor, Alex George, is a TV and social media personality. He uses his platforms to discuss mental and physical health, as well as campaigns alongside charities such as Young Minds. On the 3rd February 2021, Dr Alex George was appointed as Youth Mental Health Ambassador by Prime Minister Boris Johnson
Having recently started to take medication to support his mental health, Dr Alex launched the #PostYourPill campaign. This movement aims to remove the stigma around mental health medication and encourage people to access the help they need.
The stigma surrounding mental health is full of misconceptions. For example, there are claims that people with mental health problems are unable to work as efficiently or effectively as others. Dr Alex George has used his platform to show how false this is. Medication for mental health is often labelled as an ‘easy fix,’ which is untrue. Having had personal experience taking Sertraline (an anti-depressant), I can confirm it allows me to manage my condition, but does not fix it.
Alongside medication, it is common for people to have therapy or counselling sessions. Medication can allow people to be in a stable place, allowing therapy or counselling to be more effective. This was certainly true in my experience. Someone once told me: ‘you wouldn’t rebuild a house without putting scaffolding up.’ This enabled me to come to terms with my own medication as I used to be ashamed of it. I definitely felt the stigma. I was worried that people would think differently of me if they knew. But the truth is that if it was medication for any other physical illness, I would not think twice about it. I take medication because I need it; it doesn’t matter what anyone thinks and mental health medication is nothing to be ashamed of.
When launching the #PostYourPill campaign in November 2021 over Instagram, Dr Alex expressed that he had avoided taking medication for years out of fear of what people would think. However, he importantly stated ‘I can tell you now, I am not ashamed. I AM PROUD to take control of my own health. This does not make me weak or less able, it makes me stronger.’
Removing the stigma of medication is incredibly important as it reminds people they are not alone. The response to #PostYourPill campaign has been overwhelming, with Dr Alex receiving thousands of positive comments and resulting in many social media users sharing their own stories. The popularity of the campaign has enabled Dr Alex to set up an Instagram account dedicated to this movement, @postyourpill.
This campaign has been helpful to many people in removing the stigma around medication for mental health. My own experience when I first started taking mental health medication would have been different had this movement existed then. For this reason, I support the campaign wholeheartedly.
Disclaimer –Medication should only be taken when prescribed by a doctor. Other methods of self-care, exercise and therapy, are also important. The aim of this campaign is to remove barriers to treatment for those who need it
Rebecca Dawson is a third-year Geography student at the University of Leicester and Vice-Captain at UOL Tennis. She is interested in mental health, popular culture and current affairs.
Feature Image: Dr Alex George/Instagram