ITV announces changes to aftercare for Love Island contestants following Mike Thalassitis death

20 March 2019, 09:10

Mike Love Island asset
Mike Thalassitis was the second contestant to have died . Picture: ITV

The 26-year-old's death prompted backlash from former Love Island contestants who slammed ITV for their lack of support following the show, something which the company denied.

ITV have announced new plans for Love Island contestants following the tragic deaths of Mike Thalassitis and Sophie Gradon.

Mike, who appeared on Love Island in 2017, was found dead in the woods near his Essex home last week after taking his own life less than a year after Sophie was also found dead at her home after reportedly hanging herself.

The 26-year-old's death prompted backlash from former Love Island contestants who slammed ITV for their lack of support following the show, something which the company denied.

Now the company have said they are going to be more "proactive" in checking up on the welfare of contestants in addition to offering them social media training and financial support.

A statement released by ITV said: "When something so awful happens it is natural to enter a period of soul-searching and ask whether anything could have been done to help avoid something so terrible happening," the ITV statement read.

"It is not for us to speculate on the reasons behind this tragedy and what is so heartbreaking is that we simply cannot know."

Mike Thalassitis
Mike Thalassitis. Picture: Mike Thalassitis/IG

Addressing the backlash, ITV said the criticism "bears no relation" to the processes the company has had in place for islanders in the past.

"Our duty of care is a continuous and ongoing process for each Islander," ITV insisted. "This follows three key stages; pre-filming, filming, and aftercare.

"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."

However, ITV did recognise there is work to be done and the process is "evolving", and revealed they hired a physician Dr Paul Litchfield to review its protocol internally six months ago.

The review led them to extend their services to offer contestants financial and social media training, in addition to mental health counselling when leaving the villa.

This review has led us to extend our support processes to offer therapy to all Islanders and not only those that reach out to us," ITV said in its statement.

"And we will be delivering bespoke training to all future Islanders to include social media and financial management.

"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.

"Across ITV, we have worked with a number of charities including CALM (Campaign Against Living Miserably) on Project 84 and with Samaritans and CALM on Coronation Street, tackling the issue of male suicide. Conversations about mental health have never been more important."