Love Island stars to be offered minimum of eight therapy sessions and social media training
Written by Gavin on 16th June 2021
Love Island contestants taking part in the latest season will be offered a minimum of eight therapy sessions following the show, ITV has said.
Training on the impact of social media and “how to handle potential negativity” will also be given, as well as help with financial management and how to secure representation for media and public appearances.
ITV has published the measures as part of its duty of care protocols ahead of Love Island’s seventh series, hosted by Laura Whitmore, returning on 28 June.
The dating show and the broadcaster have faced criticism in recent years following the deaths of former contestants Sophie Gradon and Mike Thalassitis in 2018 and 2019, as more scrutiny is given to the duty of care that reality TV shows have to participants.
In 2019, The Jeremy Kyle Show was axed from ITV’s schedules following the death of a contestant.
Publishing details of its support processes for Love Island, the broadcaster outlined plans for care before, during and after filming, and said registered mental health professionals would be involved throughout the whole series and beyond.
Contestants will be offered “comprehensive psychological support”, “detailed conversations on the impact of participation on the show” and a “proactive aftercare package”, the broadcaster said.
Before the show, contestants are assessed and asked to disclose “any medical history” that would be relevant to their time in the villa. The “implications, both positive and negative, of taking part in the series” are also discussed both verbally and in writing.
Aftercare procedures also include “proactive contact with Islanders for a period of 14 months after the series in which they have appeared has ended, with additional help provided where applicable”.
Dr Paul Litchfield, who was appointed by ITV in 2018 when it launched a review of Love Island’s participant welfare processes, said: “Society’s appreciation of the importance of mental health and wellbeing has grown enormously in recent years and the pandemic has brought that into even sharper focus.
“Reducing the risk of harm, where possible, is an imperative but promoting good mental health is also necessary.”
ITV had previously release duty of care processes ahead of the fifth series of Love Island in May 2019, which was won by Amber Gill and Greg O’Shea.
Many former contestants have spoken out about the importance of looking after mental health, including Chris Hughes and Dr Alex George, who was appointed as the government’s youth mental health ambassador in February.
The 2021 series will be the first time Love Island has aired since its first winter season in February 2020, as last year’s summer series was called off due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The show’s former host Caroline Flack took her own life at the age of 40 in February 2020.
The location of this year’s series, which is usually filmed at a villa in Majorca, is yet to be announced.