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Love Island releases revised duty of care statement after Mike Thalassitis and Sophie Gradon deaths

Evening Standard logo Evening Standard 22/05/2019 Emma Powell
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ITV has outlined its revised duty of care process ahead of the upcoming series of Love Island, confirming all contestants will be offered “enhanced psychological support” pre and post filming as well as eight therapy sessions on returning home.

The popular reality TV show, which sees members of the public couple up at a villa in Majorca in a bid to win a cash prize, came under fire earlier this year after ex-islander Mike Thalassitis took his own life. His death came a year after series two contestant Sophie Gradon was found dead at her home.

A report released today reveals the format will remain the same, but islanders will be given “detailed explanations both verbally and in writing of the implications, both positive and negative, of taking part in the series”.

Potential Islanders are required to fully disclose any relevant medical history, they will undergo rigorous assessments and have access to a welfare team both during the show and after as well as a senior team who have Mental Health First Aid training.

Sophie Gradon wearing a black dress: Sophie Gradon appeared on series two (Joel Anderson/ITV) © Provided by Independent Digital News & Media Limited Sophie Gradon appeared on series two (Joel Anderson/ITV)

They will receive “bespoke social media training” and advice on finance on returning home as well as eight therapy sessions and proactive contact for 14 months after the series has ended, with additional help provided where necessary.

Creative Director ITV Studios Entertainment Richard Cowles said: “Due to the success of the show our Islanders can find themselves in the public eye following their appearance. We really want to make sure they have given real consideration to this and what appearing on TV entails. Discussing all of this with us forms a big part of the casting process and, ultimately, their decision to take part.

“Also, as we are outlining today our welfare processes follow three key stages: pre-filming, filming and aftercare and we are increasing our post filming support to help Islanders following their time in villa.”

The latest report comes eight months after show bosses engaged physician and a former Chief Medical Officer Dr Paul Litchfield to independently review and work with them to enhance and oversee their duty of care.

A picture shows the logo of broadcaster ITV at their MediaCityUK studios in Salford, Greater Manchester, northwest England, on May 14, 2019. - All episodes of a popular British talk show have been pulled from the internet and filming has been suspended after the reported suicide of a former guest Tuesday. Broadcaster ITV pulled its most popular daytime show "The Jeremy Kyle Show" off air indefinitely following the death of 63-year-old Steve Dymond, a week after he appeared on an episode. (Photo by Paul ELLIS / AFP)        (Photo credit should read PAUL ELLIS/AFP/Getty Images) A picture shows the logo of broadcaster ITV at their MediaCityUK studios in Salford, Greater Manchester, northwest England, on May 14, 2019. - All episodes of a popular British talk show have been pulled from the internet and filming has been suspended after the reported suicide of a former guest Tuesday. Broadcaster ITV pulled its most popular daytime show "The Jeremy Kyle Show" off air indefinitely following the death of 63-year-old Steve Dymond, a week after he appeared on an episode. (Photo by Paul ELLIS / AFP) (Photo credit should read PAUL ELLIS/AFP/Getty Images)

Dr Litchfield said 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.”

He finished: “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 returns to ITV2 on June 3

The Samaritans offer support and advice to people feeling suicidal or vulnerable 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Their website is http://www.samaritans.org, email address jo@samaritans.org or call free on 116 123. 

MSN UK are Empowering Happiness for mental health awareness month. Find out more about our campaign and the charities working to stop people falling into crisis here.

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