'Love Island': ITV to offer enhanced psychological support to contestants

Amber Davies (second right), Montana Brown (centre left), Olivia Attwood (third left), Caroline Flack (centre right), Ian Sterling (far right) and Marcel Somerville with the Reality Programme Award for Love Island at during the 2018 TRIC Awards at the Grosvenor House Hotel, London. (Photo by Ian West/PA Images via Getty Images)
Amber Davies (second right), Montana Brown (centre left), Olivia Attwood (third left), Caroline Flack (centre right), Ian Sterling (far right) and Marcel Somerville with the Reality Programme Award for Love Island. (Ian West/PA Images via Getty Images)

Love Island contestants will be given a minimum of eight therapy sessions as part of an enhanced duty of care process outlined by ITV ahead of the new series.

The dating reality programme returns to ITV2 on Monday 3 June for its fifth series, against a backdrop of calls for it to be dropped in the wake of the deaths of two of its former stars.

As the care given to contestants is called into question by viewers and MPs, ITV has outlined an updated version of its original plan revealed in March this year. ITV said that its production team had continued to evolve its processes with each series as it grew in popularity, boosting the social and media attention on each of its stars.

Among the key changes were enhanced psychological support, more detailed discussions with contestants around the potential impact of the programme on their lives, and bespoke training for all Islanders on social media and financial management.

Read more: Rumoured Love Island 2019 contestants

There would also be a proactive aftercare package, which extended support to all those who took part in the programme after it had ended.

LONDON, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 07: Mike Thalassitis from 'Celebs Go Dating' during a BUILD panel discussion on February 7, 2018 in London, England. (Photo by Joe Maher/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 07: Mike Thalassitis from 'Celebs Go Dating' during a BUILD panel discussion on February 7, 2018 in London, England. (Photo by Joe Maher/Getty Images)

Participants who appear in the forthcoming series would be given at least eight therapy sessions upon returning home, and contact with each Islander would last for 14 months after the series in which they appeared had ended, ITV said.

A psychological consultant would be engaged throughout the whole series, from pre-filming to aftercare, and each contestant would be assessed on a psychological and medical level by an independent doctor, psychological consultant and through a discussion with each Islander's GP to check medical history.

Those wishing to take part in the series were also told they needed to consider how appearing on the programme would change their lives, and were advised to work through the decision-making process with their loved ones.

ITV would also encourage contestants to seek management to represent them, particularly if they continued with a TV career or wanted to appear in advertising campaigns or make other public appearances.

Richard Cowles, ITV Studios Entertainment's creative director, said they were "very excited" to see Love Island return for another series, which sees young singletons living in a villa together in Majorca in a bid to find love and win a cash prize.

He added: "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.

Read more: Love Island stars ‘paid less than minimum wage’

"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."

British physician Dr Paul Litchfield, who has experience in the area of mental health, independently reviewed Love Island's duty of care processes and worked with show bosses to enhance them going forward.

Newly crowned Miss Great Britain, Sophie Gradon, at the launch fruit spring water drink Drench, in Covent Garden, central London.   (Photo by Yui Mok - PA Images/PA Images via Getty Images)
Newly crowned Miss Great Britain, Sophie Gradon, at the launch fruit spring water drink Drench, in Covent Garden, central London. (Photo by Yui Mok - PA Images/PA Images via Getty Images)

The updated duty of care processes come after Sophie Gradon, 32, who appeared in season two in 2016, was found dead in June last year, and after 26-year-old Mike Thalassitis, who took part in Love Island a year later, died in March.

The programme's level of care for its stars was called into question, with Health Secretary Matt Hancock saying that reality shows had a duty to care for contestants after they became famous.

The debate around the programme has since heightened following the death of a participant who had filmed an episode of The Jeremy Kyle Show, which was axed by ITV last week.

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