Love Island bosses have revealed comprehensive plans for the show’s new aftercare system, following an outcry from reality stars in the wake of Mike Thalassitis and Sophie Gradon’s deaths.
Former Islanders including Zara Holland have criticised an alleged lack of support from the programme, claiming the dating show ‘ruined her life’.
The programme faced further scrutiny in the past week when it was revealed ITV had axed The Jeremy Kyle Show following the suspected suicide of Steve Dymond, who appeared as a guest on the show just days prior. Some viewers have accused the channel of hypocrisy for continuing to broadcast Love Island after Sophie and Mike’s deaths.
ITV bosses have responded to calls for better support on the show by outlining an extensive new care plan for both before and after Islanders enter the villa.
This year’s Islanders will be put through psychological consultations throughout the series, from pre-filming to aftercare. During pre-filming, they will also go through psychological and medical assessments with doctors and psychological consultants who will review their medical history with Islanders’ GPs.
ITV’s new duty of care policy outlines managing the cast’s expectations before filming begins. Bosses will ensure ‘verbally and in writing the implications, both positive and negative, of taking part in the series are given to potential cast members throughout the casting process and reinforced within the contract so it is clear.’
Islanders will be told to consider potential implications of taking part in the show before working through the decision with family and people closest to them. The senior team on the show have been trained in mental health first aid, and a welfare team will look after the contestants both during and after the show.
When Islanders leave the villa they will be given bespoke social media training and financial advice as they adjust to life post-show, and will receive a minimum of eight therapy sessions on their arrival back home.
ITV has said it will maintain proactive contact with Islanders for 14 months after their stint on the show, so further support can be provided where needed.
Bosses will also encourage Islanders to secure management to represent them after the show and to assist if they choose to take part in further TV shows, campaigns or public appearances.
The new duty of care plan comes after the Love Island team enlisted the help former chief medical officer Dr Paul Litchfield, who has extensive experience in mental health, to review and evolve the care provided before, during and after filming.
I have reviewed Love Island’s duty of care processes from end to end and they show a degree of diligence that demonstrates the seriousness with which this is taken by the production team.
The processes and the support offered to Islanders have necessarily evolved as the show has developed and grown in popularity. The aim throughout has been to identify vulnerabilities at an early stage so that necessary adjustments can be made or potential Islanders can be advised that the show is not right for them.
A high level of professional expertise has been engaged to provide comprehensive support not only while young people are actively engaged with the show but also for an extended period when they are adjusting to life thereafter. Professional input is a key element in safeguarding the wellbeing of Islanders but the genuine caring attitudes I have observed from those who make the show are as important.
Love Island is set to return to ITV2 on June, 3.
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Emma Rosemurgey is an NCTJ trained Journalist at UNILAD. She graduated from the University of Central Lancashire in Preston and started her career in regional newspapers before joining the LADbible Group team in 2017.