Love Island is starting again this week, and I’m sure many of you can’t wait for weeks of flirting, challenges and a LOT of drama. Let’s face it — we’re all saving up for summer so desperately need an incentive to stay in every night glued to the telly.
However, it’s hard not to reflect on the tragic loss of two previous contestants — Sophie Gradon from season two and Mike Thalassitis from season three — who both died by suicide after their respective appearances on the show. Following their passing, other contestants have criticised the show’s lack of aftercare and called for renewed efforts to offer support for new and previous contestants.
After the death of a man who appeared on the Jeremy Kyle Show, who reportedly took his own life after failing a lie detector test on the daytime television show, the scrutiny surrounding reality television has intensified. Is it inherently dangerous to the mental health of contestants, and what can we do to protect those who appear on such popular shows?
Those who have appeared on the show have gone on camera for Cosmopolitan to talk about their mental health after appearing on the show, and what the instant fame has done to their lives. It’s worth giving a watch, as it provides a real insight for viewers as to how appearing on a reality show can change your entire life and way of thinking.
They discussed feeling anxious, low, depressed and wanting to hide from the world. One of the important points from the video is that mental ill health doesn’t discriminate — even if you’re rich, famous, perceived as good looking and “have it all”, that doesn’t affect what’s going on inside.
While hearing about their experiences is difficult and heartbreaking, it is a great way to engage with fans and raise awareness of how to seek help if you’re struggling with a mental health problem. They are showing that life portrayed on reality tv and social media is rarely the true picture, and that is so important in the social media world in which we live.
It’s great to hear that the creators of Love Island have pledged to provide much more care and aftercare for those who appear on this year’s show. This is a step in the right direction and shows that changes are being made to make contestants feel more comfortable and that they will hopefully be provided with the support that they need, should they need it.
Let’s hope that this year viewers, contestants and the show’s creators and staff are prepared and ready to offer support to those who need it on the show. And if you are struggling and feel as though you need to talk, text HOPE to 85258 or visit the Hub of Hope on your computer, tablet or phone to find support near you.