ITV has outlined new duty of care processes for contestants in its hit reality series Love Island, including therapy sessions, social media and financial training, and a minimum of 14 months of ‘proactive’ contact after the series.
The move comes amid heightened concern about the impact of reality shows on participants’ mental health, and follows the deaths of two former contestants in the past year.
Last week, ITV also cancelled its tabloid talkshow The Jeremy Kyle Show after a guest was found dead after taking part in an episode.
Eight months ago, the Love Island team hired the UK’s former chief medical officer Dr Paul Litchfield to review and enhance its duty of care processes.
ITV Studios Entertainment creative director Richard Cowles said the welfare processes followed three stages: pre-filming, filming and aftercare.
Cowles said: “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. Discussing all of this with us forms a big part of the casting process and, ultimately, their decision to take part.”
Dr Litchfield said: “I have reviewed Love Island’s duty of care processes from end to end and they show a degree of diligence that demonstrates the seriousness with which this is taken by the production team.
The duty of care process outlined by ITV for series five, which begins on 3 June, includes:
Pre-filming and filming
– Psychological consultant engaged throughout the whole series – from pre-filming to aftercare.
– 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.
– Potential Islanders are required to fully disclose any relevant medical history that would be relevant to their inclusion in the villa and the production’s ability to provide a suitable environment for them.
– Managing cast expectations: detailed explanations both verbally and in writing of the implications, both positive and negative, of taking part in the series are given to potential cast members throughout the casting process and reinforced within the contract so it is clear.
– Cast are told they should consider all the potential implications of taking part in the show and work through this decision-making process in consultation with their family and those closest to them, to ensure they feel it is right for them.
– Senior team on the ground have received training in Mental Health First Aid.
– A welfare team solely dedicated to the Islanders both during the show and after.
– Bespoke training on dealing with social media and advice on finance and adjusting to life back home.
– A minimum of eight therapy sessions will be provided to each Islander when they return home.
– Proactive contact with Islanders for a period of 14 months up until the end of the next series. This means contact with the Islander will last for 14 months after the series in which they have appeared has ended, with additional help provided where applicable.
– Encouraging Islanders to secure management to represent them after the show and manage them should they choose to take part in other TV shows, advertising campaigns or other public appearance opportunities.