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Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 24 April 2019

Love Island ITV bosses pledge better support to cast members

In a statement, the UK show bosses have said it will be upgrading its aftercare

'Love Island' star Mike Thalassitis was found dead aged 26. Instagram / Mike Thalassitis
'Love Island' star Mike Thalassitis was found dead aged 26. Instagram / Mike Thalassitis

On Friday, March 15, Love Island star Mike Thalassitis was found dead aged 26. It has been reported that it was a hanging, following the death of his grandmother and financial struggles. Police are not treating the incident as suspicious.

It sparked a much-needed discussion about the quality of aftercare on the popular reality TV show. Thalassitis had shot to fame overnight after starring in the 2017 series, on which he had been branded a villain and given the nickname 'Muggy Mike'.

This came less than nine months after another former Love Island star took her own life. Sophie Gradon, 32, had appeared in the second series and become a victim of prolific online trolling.

'Love Island' season two star Sophie Gradon died in June 2018, aged 32. Instagram / sophiegradon
'Love Island' season two star Sophie Gradon died in June 2018, aged 32. Instagram / sophiegradon

It seems the powers that be have listened, as ITV bosses announced in a statement to The Sun that it will be upgrading its aftercare by offering therapy to each cast member, whether or not they ask for it. The letter, published in full in the UK newspaper, was written by Richard Cowles, the creative director of ITV Studios, which makes the show.

"Everyone at Love Island is so shocked and absolutely devastated with the tragic news of Mike Thalassitis," it said, as it outlined the three stages of care that is offered to each islander pre and post-filming, as well as during.

"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."

When the show ends, each contestant has debrief meetings on location with the executive and medical teams, as well as a psychological consultant, it states. They're then told how to access care support, should they feel they need it.

That will now change. "The key focus will be for us to no longer be reliant on the islanders asking us for support but for us to proactively check in with them on a regular basis."

"Having said all of this about Love Island we must not lose sight of the wider issue which is the importance of the conversation on mental health."

Will it be enough?

Updated: March 20, 2019 01:04 PM

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