Following the suicide of two former Love Islanders - 26-year-old Mike Thalassitis in March 2019, and 32-year-old Sophie Gradon in June 2018 - the show came up against severe criticism about the way it handles aftercare for the mental wellbeing of contestants.
A statement released by ITV today clarifies exactly what processes the producers will be implementing for series seven. The key welfare plans in place are:
Comprehensive psychological support
Training for all Islanders on the impacts of social media and handling potential negativity
Training for all Islanders on financial management
Detailed conversations with Islanders regarding the impact of participation on the show
A proactive aftercare package which extends support to all islanders following their participation on the show
Guidance and advice on taking on management after the show
Before filming the show, Love Island will conduct thorough psychological and medical assessments using independent doctors and those already linked to the contestants. Senior staff who are on-the-ground during filming will all be trained in Mental Health First Aid, and there will be a welfare team on hand who are solely dedicated to the Islanders throughout and after the process.
Show-makers will also aim to "manage cast expectations" of what's to come - both the positive and the negative - and will encourage contestants to consider all the potential implications of taking part in the show before making the decision about whether they do it.
After the show, contestants will be given training on how to deal with social media, finances, and adjusting to life back home, as well as a minimum of eight therapy sessions for every contestant. The show producers will also keep in active contact with Islanders for 14 months - up until the end of the next series - as a means of ensuring positive mental wellbeing. They will also be encouraged to secure management to represent them after the show in a professional capacity, which should aid them in healthy decision making where their careers are concerned.
In 2018, Love Island enrolled the help of Dr Paul Litchfield, a former Chief Medical Officer who specialises in mental health, to assess the way the programme assists with show participants throughout filming and beyond. He seems pretty happy with the way the show-makers have evolved their approach over the years, saying their promises have been "backed up by tangible action," and that they are setting "an example to others in the industry and beyond."
Love Island 2021 does not yet have a confirmed start date, but is expected to begin on 28 June on ITV2.
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