Island of love is one of the most successful reality TV series of all time. Much of the premise of the show is familiar to audiences. 10 singles are invited to spend their summer in a villa for several weeks and must form a couple. Over the weeks, the islanders are wiped out and risk being sent off the island. Other islanders join the candidates over time in an attempt to sever romantic ties. Sometimes the contestants find love, but other times the islanders just fight. The series is characterized by constant pairing and dissociation until a couple wins a cash prize. Additionally, the show has been criticized for practices that negatively affect mental health, prompting the addition of a candidate support program.
“Love Island” and suicide
Despite its immense success, Island of love has come under public scrutiny in recent years after two contestants and a host committed suicide, as reported by Gulf News. Caroline Flack’s death at age 40 left fans in shock. Flack was the show’s host until 2019. Other former contestants, Sophie Gradon and Mike Thalassitis, committed suicide. These deaths sounded the alarm for producers of Island of love to identify and treat mental health issues that arise in the limelight of celebrities.
The due diligence support package
After the multiple cases of suicide of the former host and the former candidates of Island of love, many people wonder how dangerous it is to achieve instant reality TV stardom. People often ask, “How can the whole experience affect mental health?” Is enough being done to protect their stars from deteriorating mental health? “
Given how events unfolded, ITV has released details of plans to introduce a new due diligence initiative to support applicants before, during and after appearing on the show. This support program includes the promotion of psychological well-being and the training of islanders in financial management.
Below is a summary overview of the support package:
- Training on how to deal with the negative impacts of social media
- Extensive psychological support
- In-depth sessions with Islanders on the impact of attending the show
- A follow-up package for all islanders after participating in the show
- Tips on the importance of taking the lead after filming.
Help with pre-shooting and filming on ‘Love Island’
Before and during the shooting of Island of love, applicants will receive professional mental health care. This support will also continue after the shooting. Competitors will also undergo regular psychological assessments by independent medical staff. The cast will also need to disclose any previous mental health issues before joining the show.
Producers will communicate both the positive and negative impacts of attending the show verbally and in writing throughout the casting process. The show will also have a wellness team, whose sole purpose will be to support islanders during and after filming.
ITV’s due diligence protocol after filming
Once the season is underway Island of love the show has ended or a candidate has been kicked out, they will be immediately trained to handle social media, manage their finances and adjust to real world life. When the islanders return home, they will receive at least eight therapy sessions. Producers will proactively contact islanders for up to 14 months after filming and provide additional care if and when needed.
A benchmark for other reality TV shows
As mentioned, the well-being of reality TV stars has been in the spotlight in recent years. It’s a welcome advancement to see reality TV producers assess the potential risks of being on the show and establish ways to mitigate them. As Island of love, other reality TV producers should take care of the sanity of their contestants, as instant fame can easily get out of hand.
How to get help: In the United States, call National lifeline for suicide prevention at 1-800-273-8255. Or text HOME to 741-741 to speak to a qualified emergency counselor at Crisis text line.
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