Love Island's Dr Alex praises Shrewsbury mental health hero

A Love Island star has heaped praise on a Shrewsbury mental health ambassador who has been helping Salopians with his coffee shop chats.

Tom Howells has received praise from Love Island's Dr Alex George for his #talktotom mental health chats
Tom Howells has received praise from Love Island's Dr Alex George for his #talktotom mental health chats

Tom Howells, who runs his Talk To Tom sessions in Shrewsbury cafes, received a shout out from Dr Alex George, former star of the hit ITV2 show.

Dr Alex was appointed by Prime Minister Boris Johnson as the Government's UK youth mental health ambassador following the suicide of his younger brother Llyr.

In his post about Tom, Dr Alex urged his followers to show their support. He said: "How great does it feel to have someone there to talk to and share your problems with? Amazing right?

Dr Alex George in the Love Island diary room

"Talk To Tom was set up with the goal of being a listening pair of ears for his community. Tom spends his spare time in local cafes, sitting and waiting for anyone who may need a chat or a friendly face.

"Alongside this, he is a trainee mental health education practitioner for the NHS and is currently raising money for Mind Shropshire. His service has already made such a huge impact in his area. Tom, you are an amazing guy! Go and show him some love."

Hundreds of people liked the post and wrote positive feedback. One wrote: "What an amazing man," while another described Tom as "an angel".

One follower said: "Every community needs a Tom, while another added: "Well done Tom. You most certainly helped some Salopians through a rough couple of years."

Tom has been popping up in cafes and getting pulled for chats - though not in the Love Island sense - for around two years now. Dr Alex clearly thinks Tom's grafting, which has led to him pursuing mental health work professionally, has been impressive.

It was Tom's partner, Laura, who initially wrote to Dr Alex after he was looking for mental health heroes to recognise.

"I was on my way to work when my phone started going crazy," said Tom. "I thought something bad might have happened.

"I received so many nice messages so really I'd like to thank him, as well as my partner and everyone who messaged,

"Sometimes I have moments when I wonder if what I'm doing is working, but then something like this will happen, or someone will come up to me in the street. I was in town the one day and a woman came up to me and just said she knows I'm there if she needs me, which is great."

Tom started doing chats after a friend of his partner took his own life in his 20s, a situation that he likened to actor Robin Williams, as he seemed to be the "life of the party", while battling private demons.

"We always think our friends who seem happy are the ones that are okay, but they need to be checked up on," added Tom.

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