Peter Andre has called for the cancellation of shows like Love Island due to the danger they pose to contestants. As a participant on programs like I'm a Celebrity... Get Me Out of Here! and Strictly Come Dancing, Peter was able to reinvigorate his career. However, he’s made the argument that reality TV shows should be dropped from the air due to the mental health problems they may cause.
This line of reasoning was brought about in part due to three separate cases involving contestants from various reality TV shows that have taken their own lives after their TV appearances. Sophie Gradon took part in season 2 of Love Island U.K. in 2016 and took her own life in 2018 at the age of 32, while Mike Thalassitis, who appeared on season 3 of Love Island U.K., was 26-year-old was found hanged in a park. On May 9, police found 63-year-old Steve Dymond deceased in his home from an overdose just days after he appeared on The Jeremy Kyle Show where he had failed a polygraph test, which revealed that he was being unfaithful to his fiancé. Then, on May 15, British broadcasting network ITV announced that The Jeremy Kyle Show would be canceled due to Dymon's death.
In an interview with The Guardian, Andre explained that The Jeremy Kyle Show shouldn’t be the only show that's held responsible. He said, “There has to be a duty of care across the networks. It's not just one person or one show." Andre has spoken candidly in the past about his own struggles with anxiety and depression, and he argued that reality shows could affect many contestants in a comparable manner. He suggested changes to the casting process, advising psychological checks before the show, and that "[contestants] should be checked before they go on ... They should know whether they're in the right frame of mind to do that sort of thing."
In the wake of Sophie and Mike both passing away ahead of Love Island’s upcoming season, as well as the public criticism, ITV2 revealed that it had made significant updates to its aftercare procedures. The broadcaster released an outline presenting a year-long initiative to provide improved psychological support, financial management, social media training, and extensive counseling to cast members to prepare them for the aftermath of appearing on the show. At least eight therapy sessions will be available to each participant upon completion of filming, along with constant communication for up to 14 months after the show ends.
While there might a pattern emerging between reality TV shows and mental health, there is no concrete evidence proving that reality TV show contestants are affected negatively by their experience. That said, ITV2 realized that they have a responsibility to protect their stars from undue harm, so it's always possible that other networks will follow suit.
New episodes of Love Island air every Monday to Friday, and Sundays at 9pm EST on ITV2.
Source: The Guardian