MPs Hear From 'Love Island' Contestants Over Reality Shows' Duty Of Mental Health Care

British MPs investigating the effects of reality TV on participants' mental health will hear evidence from three former Love Island contestants on Wednesday.

Past Love Island-ers Chris Williamson, Marcel Somerville and Yewande Biala will appear before the digital, culture, media and sport committee on Wednesday as it discusses, "representations of race, gender and body image and contestant preparedness for life after Love Island."

Marcel Somerville
Marcel Somerville and other Love Island contestants coming from Love Island arrive at Stanstead airport on July 25, 2017 in London, England. (Photo by DMC/GC Images)

The level of support and aftercare offered to those on the show has been under scrutiny since the deaths of former contestants Sophie Gradon and Mike Thalassitis.

Island-ers Thalassitis and Gordon died by suicide in 2019 and 2018 respectively. Thalassitis, who appeared in Love Island's fourth season, was discovered in a park in north London on 16th March, while Gordon's boyfriend Aaron Armstrong found her in June last year. An inquest found she had hanged herself after drinking alcohol and taking cocaine. Armstrong later took his own life.

Since the deaths, ITV has stepped up its aftercare, offering a minimum of eight therapy sessions to each Islander and proactive contact from program bosses for 14 months after the series ends.

Williamson, Somerville and Biala will discuss the way race, gender and body image are represented on Love Island, as well as the role that producers play in the cast's mental health. They are also expected to give their views on how well contestants are prepared for life after the show.

Love Island's "Duty of Care" Statement demands psychological care in pre-filming, filming as well as "aftercare."

It begins by requiring a, "Psychological consultant engaged throughout the whole series – from pre-filming to aftercare."

Yewande Biala
Yewande Biala seen at Ella Canta restaurant on July 19, 2019 in London, England. (Photo by Ricky Vigil M/GC Images)

Pre-filming for reality TV shows demands include: "Thorough pre-filming psychological and medical assessments including assessments by an independent doctor, psychological consultant and discussion with each Islander's own GP to check medical history."

MPs will also hear from a former guests on The Jeremy Kyle Show, which was cut by ITV in May following the death of participant Steve Dymond. Before it was canceled, the show tackled difficult and emotional issues, like dealing with family fall-outs, relationships and affairs.

Dymond, 63, died by suicide a week after reportedly failing a lie detector test on the program. The construction worker was found in his room in Portsmouth in May after splitting from on-off fiancee Jane Callaghan.

Jeremy Kyle Show guests Dwayne Davison and Robert Gregory said, "the aftercare given to them was not robust and has had a serious negative impact on their lives."

Anyone feeling emotionally distressed or suicidal can call Samaritans for help call the Samaritans branch in your area or 1-(800)-273-TALK in the US. Call 116 123 or email jo@samaritans.org in the UK.

MPs Hear From 'Love Island' Contestants Over Reality Shows' Duty Of Mental Health Care | Culture