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Love Island contestants to be offered therapy after deaths of two former stars

Mike Thalassitis was found dead in London last weekend.
Mar 20th 2019, 2:29 PM 32,110 23

THE REALITY TV programme Love Island has said all future contestants will be offered therapy following the deaths of two former stars.

ITV made the announcement after Mike Thalassitis, who appeared in the 2017 series, was found dead in London on Saturday.

Sophie Gradon (32), who had taken part in the series in 2016, was found dead last June. Both died by suicide.

Their deaths sparked a conversation about mental health and how going from relative obscurity to being very well know, and often publicly criticised, can impact a person’s wellbeing.

In a statement, ITV said it was “shocked and absolutely devastated” by Thalassitis’ death.

When something so awful happens it is natural to enter a period of soul searching and ask whether anything could have been done to help avoid something so terrible happening.

“It is not for us to speculate on the reasons behind this tragedy and what is so heartbreaking is that we simply cannot know,” the statement notes.

It adds that Love Island “put Mike in the spotlight with all the ups and downs that brings”, and noted that he went on to feature in other TV series. 

The statement responded to some of the criticism levelled at the show in recent days, insisting it does provide support to contestants.

ITV said it has previously offered help to any contestant who asked for it but, following a review of its practices, will now offer therapy to every contestant and “proactively check in with them on a regular basis”.

Medical team 

The broadcaster said it hired mental health expert Dr Paul Litchfield to independently review Love Island’s “medical processes” six months ago. 

“This review has led us to extend our support processes to offer therapy to all Islanders and not only those that reach out to us. And we will be delivering bespoke training to all future Islanders to include social media and financial management.”

The statement also outlines the support the programme has offered contestants to date pre-filming, during filming and afterwards.

We work with both an independent GP and a psychological consultant to provide an assessment of the physical and mental health of each of the shortlisted cast members and their suitability for inclusion on the programme.

“As TV producers, we rely on medical experts to assess both mental and physical health to ensure that each candidate is suitable for inclusion.”

Need help? Support is available:

  • Samaritans 116 123 or email jo@samaritans.ie
  • Aware 1800 80 48 48 (depression, anxiety)
  • Pieta House 1800 247 247 or email mary@pieta.ie (suicide, self-harm)
  • Teen-Line Ireland 1800 833 634 (for ages 13 to 19)
  • Childline 1800 66 66 66 (for under 18s)
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Órla Ryan

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