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BE NICE SOCIALLeft to right: Ched Uzor, Dr Alex George, Rio Frederika, organiser Mike Opukah and Dr Beth Mosley.

Two former Love Island stars took part in a mental health awareness week in Suffolk.

Dr Alex George and Ched Uzor were joined by presenter and DJ Rio Fredrika and a host of other guests, to offer help and support to students and staff at an occasion that was hosted by West Suffolk College.

Organiser of the event is Mike Opukah, a business lecturer and wellbeing ambassador at the college. He said, “We started this last year and the event has grown. From my point of view, we need to make our students (and staff) feel that they can talk freely about mental health issues. We also celebrated some of the great work that is happening in this region by charities and volunteers. This year the theme is ‘be kind to each other’. COVID-19 has affected us all in different ways – so we promoted the message that we will get through this together if we all look out for each other.”

“I’d like to thank the wellbeing ambassadors, Natasia Scott-Opukah from the early years department at West Suffolk College, Andrew Wheeler from Place 21, Rosie Jenkins from NEACO and all of our contributors for their support,” he added.

Reflecting on his talk at this event, former Love Island doctor, Alex George, said: “We all have mental health and therefore everyone deserves the knowledge and understanding of how to look after it. To do this we need to normalise the conversation and help people feel comfortable around the topic. I believe the best route to this is through education. It is great to see events like this which will only help improve the situation around mental health.

He also had a message for coping mechanisms for those struggling with lockdown. He said, “It is ok to find things tough. This has been hard on everyone, there aren’t many who would say it has been an easy few months. Focus on self-care, don’t be too hard on yourselves and reach out if you are struggling.”

Miss Fredrika – who currently works for Capital FM as a DJ, was keen to talk to help others by drawing on her own experiences. m/f

She said, “I suffered from an eating disorder for ten years and thought I was never going to shift it. Luckily, I managed to get out of that cycle.

“I would never wish that time on anyone so I want to do all I can to share my story to help others. My overall message to others is to be hopeful, curious and kind – and have an open mind in relation to different aspects of life that can help you better yourself.”

Former Love Island contestant, Ched Uzor, was involved. He said, “I was excited to be part of this as everyone needs to understand how important it is to look after your mental health. There is always someone you can talk to.”

Dr Beth Mosley also spoke at this event. She works for the schools and psychology team for the Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust (NSFT). She said, “Never before has physical and mental health been of such national interest. We all have mental health and learning how to promote it is critical to enabling young people to build in positive habits and understand and make sense of some of the ways they might be feeling. Therefore, the Psychology In Schools Team (PST) NSFT were delighted to be offered the opportunity to share with students at West Suffolk College their top tips on how to manage anxiety and low mood during their mental health awareness week.”

Watch again: Mental Health Awareness Week