Reality TV stars need help to deal with fame, says Suffolk MP after Love Island star's death
PUBLISHED: 13:09 18 March 2019 | UPDATED: 14:23 18 March 2019
Reality television programmes should support contestants to deal with the effects of fame of fortune, a Suffolk MP has said following the death of a leading Love Island star.
Mike Thalassitis, a former Chelsmford City football player, was found dead in a north London park at the weekend. His death is not being treated as suspicious.
The 26-year-old’s appearance on the 2017 series of the ITV dating show had thrown him into the national spotlight.
West Suffolk MP Matt Hancock, who is also health secretary, said he was “moved” by the news and “very worried” about the mental health support provided to reality TV show stars.
However a statement from Love Island said the show takes the care of its contestants very seriously.
Speaking at The Spectator Health Summit in central London on Monday, March 18, Mr Hancock said: “I am very worried about the support for the mental health of contestants on reality TV shows.
“The sudden exposure to massive fame, I suppose, can have significant impacts on people and I think that it is a duty on any organisation that is putting people in the position of making them famous overnight, that they should also look after them afterwards.
“I think that people need to take responsibility for their duties to people’s well being very seriously.”
Jonny Mitchell, who also starred in the 2017 series, told BBC Radio 5 Live on Monday: “If you come off one of the biggest shows on TV, you can’t go back to working in Tesco, it would be almost impossible, so it creates a lot of stress and a lot of strain on people.
“I know a lot of people who have come off the show who have suffered with depression.”
A statement from Love Island, read out on BBC Radio 5 Live, said: “Care for our islanders is a process the show takes very seriously and is a continuous process for all those taking part in the show.
“We ensure that all of our contributors are able to access psychological support before, during and after appearing on the show.
“The programme will always provide ongoing support when needed and where appropriate.
“We also discuss at length with all of our islanders before and after the show how their lives might change, and they have access to support and advice to help with this.”