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Mike Thalassitis

Six Love Island stars have slammed the show, claiming it left them feeling "suicidal" after they were treated like "performing monkeys".

Malin Andersson, Josh Denzel, Paul Knops, Adam Collard, Callum MacLeod and Alex Miller have banded together to write a scathing letter accusing ITV producers of pulling strings behind the scenes.

The former reality show contestants claim they felt depressed and worried following their stints on the show, and they've decided to speak out following the suicides of Sophie Gradon and Mike Thalassitis.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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The deaths have sparked a huge debate regarding how Islanders were treated during their few weeks in the Spanish villa and the aftercare they received when they left.

Changes were made this year to the way the contestants were looked after once they were dumped from the show. ITV released a statement following Mike's suicide this year.

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

"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." 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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They continued:

"We have a medical team on location which includes a psychological consultant. They not only look after Islanders’ healthcare needs, but also monitor them to check that there are no emerging signs of any problems developing whilst they are in the villa.

"Additionally, several of our senior team, who monitor the cast around the clock, have been trained in mental health first aid." Six former Love Island stars have now spilled their true feelings on the series.

Alex Miller says he struggled to adjust to real life after his romance with Megan Barton-Hanson in the villa last year, telling The Ringer that he had suicidal thoughts after fame went cold and he had to return to his job in construction.

Image: ITV/REX

"I never thought I would get into that mind frame. But I would be driving to work, contemplating ending things." Love Island bosses contacted a psychologist on his behalf after he opened up about these thoughts.

He previously told the Standard:

"From a Love Island perspective probably about five months after I was out of the villa and it had all died down and I was in a bit of a dark place and partying too much, I did have a rant on here and one of the Love Island producers got in touch and put me back in touch with a psychiatrist."

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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Malin Andersson took part in the 2016 series alongside Sophie Gradon, but has faced tough circumstances since she left the show.

She accused bosses of orchestrating Love Island and claimed contestants are essentially "performing monkeys for them".

Adam Collard, who appeared on the show in 2017, claimed he was told he had to steal someone's girlfriend when he entered the villa.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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"They interviewed me, they knew my personality, and then they put me in the villa and said, ‘You’ve got 48 hours to steal someone’s girl, otherwise you’re gone’."

Adam was told that his career "a world of good" if he could "cope with this mentally" with the bad press that would come his way.

Callum MacLeod, who was the first of 2019's Islanders to be voted out of the show, spoke out to confirm that Islanders do get aftercare when they leave.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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Callum said they were shown a video about trolling, which was created by former Islanders and detailed life on the outside.

Josh Denzel, from last year's series, said receiving cruel comments online was difficult to deal with. Friends who ran his account stopped posting online due to the hateful comments they read.

Paul Knops, from 2018's round-up, opened up about his anxiety;

He said: "You go through anxiety. It can be pretty stressful. And then you go back to your own home, and there’s no one really to talk to about what you’ve been through. It all comes down to dealing with stuff on your own, and not everyone’s great at that."

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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Other Islanders have defended Love Island and the aftercare;

Olivia Buckland spoke to the Daily Mail about her time on season two: "I was in constant contact with the producers for a very long time. I got offered psychological tests when I got out.

"I got offered counselling when I got out. I got a list of agencies. Honestly, they really did look after me, and Alex. They always checked in with us, and I’m still good friends with them now. Love Island is there for you if you need them."

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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Megan Barton-Hanson told the The Sun:

"When I came out of the villa ITV sat down with me and went through everything that had happened to make sure I was prepared. I don’t blame ITV for any of this – they’ve been amazing," she emphasised.

"They are in regular contact and whenever anything difficult happens they make an extra special effort to check in on you to see if you’re OK. I’ve got the number of the show’s psychologist in my phone and I know I can call her whenever I need to.”

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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Alex George, who appeared in series four, told ITV News: "I can only talk about my own personal experience of course, and I’ve felt that when I’ve asked for help, I’ve received it."

Olivia Attwood (season three) wrote in her New! magazine column: "I think when you put yourself in a situation like this, it’s always a risk and you need to decide whether you’re strong enough to do it.

"I’ve been subject to a lot of negative comments from trolls in the past year, but the only point it really got to me was when I first came out," she added, referencing her thick skin developing.

Chris was elevated so much in the press, whereas I was a bit hated. It was a lot to deal with because I knew a side to Chris that no one else had seen. But even then ITV were so supportive to me."

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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She advised new Islanders to stay grounded;

"My advice to Islanders coming out is to brace yourself and keep as much normality as you possibly can because I always say to myself that this isn’t your real world. You’ve got to keep things in perspective.

"You were happy and existed before you went on TV, so you should be happy and exist after it all goes away."

Tom Powell, who took part in series two, told The Sun: "The show was crazy. But they took care of us. Anyone who says  otherwise is talking bulls**t."

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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"This morning Love Island called me and said I could call the psychologist who works for the show. They gave her new number. He was one of the first person to speak to us.

"After you leave the show you speak to the psychologist and you were always checking in with her. We had a lot of care after the show. They took great care of us," he assured.

Chris Hughes, who appeared on series three, spoke out on Victoria Derbyshire: "Before the show you see a psychologist, and after the show before you head back to the show you see a psychologist.

"In the series that I was in you spoke to somebody before, and they make sure you're fine, and during your time in the show, you can also speak to somebody," he said, defending reality television.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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"And then afterwards before we flew home to the UK, still when we're within a duty of care from ITV, we have an opportunity to speak to somebody.

"We speak to them regardless, that's set in stone. So they can prepare you for what to expect when you land back in England. 

"One thing I will say is when I filmed another show with ITV, another reality show, mine and Olivia's, we were given support by a psychologist there for whenever we wanted it and me and Olivia spent hours separately and together speaking to her because they were worried about that side of things with us. It's obviously a massive help."

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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It sounds like mixed messages from former Love Island stars. On the one hand, if you're built with a thick skin or develop one, it seems the aftercare is sufficient.

On the other hand, certain contestants receive far more trolling than others, and work dries up for many, which can be majorly anxiety-inducing. 

Fans of the show are currently worried about Amy Hart, who has just voluntarily left this year's series after her brutal break-up with her first love; Curtis Pritchard. 

Feature image: ITV2

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Vicky Pattinson has cautioned fans of reality television shows such as Love Island against writing hateful comments online about individual contestants, emphasising that their words have direct consequences.

The TV star referenced the two suicides of Mike Thalassitis and Sophie Gradon following struggles with mental health, emphasising the fact that these television personalities are human.

The star has faced online vitriol as a result of her roles on Geordie Shore, Ex On The Beach and I'm a Celebrity…Get Me Out Of Here!, so she has a level of empathy for those who essentially become famous overnight.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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Posting an image of the two former Love Island contestants to her Instagram, Vicky wrote;

"What do you see here?! Let me tell you what I see; two beautiful, charismatic, fun loving and young people who should have had the world at their feet and their whole lives ahead of them. Instead, they left this world all too soon not knowing just how loved they were."

"Now I haven’t managed to catch any of this year’s Love Island. I’ve barely been in the country since it started. But I still read the news, follow the fan accounts, and my group chats still go off every time it’s on… what I’m saying is it is impossible to avoid the reality TV juggernaut." Vicky continued.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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She added;

"I just want to say I think the show is great- and I’m friends with so many of the ex-Islanders who I love a lot. But today I made the mistake of reading some people’s comments on social media when I couldn’t sleep and I’m not going to lie I was both shocked and saddened by what I read."

Love Island bosses have stepped up mental health services for the contestants, and even cite 'mental health pressures' in the contract.

Vicky warns those who use social media to use caution, and remember that the contestants do read the hateful things written about themselves online;

"Regardless of who your favourite is on this show, who you ‘ship’, who you want to win, if you’re mad that someone’s left, or angry someone stayed, no matter what you actually may think or be saying in your group chat with your mates I urge you to be more mindful across social media."

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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The show has come under immense scrutiny after two Islanders took their own lives when their time on the show ended, and the emphasis on body image or physical appearance can cause mental health stress.

"Have we not witnessed the detrimental and irreversible affect our thoughtless words and reckless opinions can have on someone’s mental health?! Why are people still attacking these islanders with such verbal vitriol?!" Vicky said.

"Do you know them personally?! Of course not! Have they done anything to warrant it?! No way. Are they human?! YES! These people are no different to you and me and they have feelings and these hateful comments with have ramifications we can’t even begin to understand."

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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Mike Thalassitis, who appeared on Love Island 2017, was found dead in a woodland park near his London home in March. Questions arose about the show's aftercare following the 26-year-old's death.

32-year-old Sophie Gradon died in June of 2018 after struggling with depression. The former Miss Great Britain took part in the show in 2016. She was found dead by her boyfriend, who took his own life 20 days later.

She explained to a friend that she 'wanted to escape' and had 'sold her soul' to appear on the infamous ITV2 show.

Despite these deaths and warnings to be careful of what you write about reality stars online, Vicky pointed out that the hateful vitriol has continued.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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"It’s so ludicrous to me that after everything that’s happened this past year I’m still having to urge people to be kind but here we are. We have lost too many people and I know this isn’t confined to the world of reality TV." 

She added;

"Through the callous words of individuals, online hate and cyber bullying we are breaking people, destroying them and it has to stop. Think before you type. Your words have gravity.

"Please be better than this internet culture of hate. Do not allow it to breed. Be kind, be compassionate. Be human. Let’s put the ‘love’ back in Love Island for Sophie & Mike."

Feature image: Instagram/@vickypattinson

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Love Island's Joe Garratt has released a statement regarding his treatment of Lucie Donlan in the villa, and it's fairly stubborn.

The sandwich maker has refused to apologise for his behaviour on the show, and insisted that he never tried to 'control' his fellow contestant.

Over 300 complaints were made to television watchdog Ofcom regarding how Lucie was treated by the hit ITV2 programme.

Image: ITV2

Joe was axed this week along with Elma Pazar, and left Lucie in tears after telling her to avoid male friendships on the show, mainly with Tommy Fury.

The 22-year-old has since denied any wrongdoing, telling The Sun; “I didn’t manipulate or abuse her and I’m gutted it’s been perceived that way.

“I’d do everything and anything to help her as she had a hard time in there and didn’t get on with the girls. I thought I did right.”

He also had no idea that "snakey" Amy Hart was slagging Lucie off behind her back.

The 21-year-old surfer chick broke down several times on Love Island, leading to criticism of ITV for a perceived failure to offer her guidance and support.

The broadcaster insisted that it provided psychological support to any upset contestants.

Joe was targeted for telling Lucie to avoid other boys on te show, which led to Women's Aid to release a statement about his 'abusive behaviour'.

Joe has refused to apologise, but admitted that he “may have worded things wrong”;

“I may have worded things wrong and the cameras are on you 24/7. I’m young and inexperienced. I’m not going to say sorry," he added. 

"I didn’t know how I was coming across on the outside. I’d no idea I was being perceived in that sense.”

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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Concerns over Lucie's well-being come amid heightened worries over the welfare of reality TV stars. 

Two high-profile suicides of ex-Love Island contestants, 32-year-old Sophie Gradon and 26-year-old Mike Thalassitis , have led to widespread criticism of the show. 

Bosses of ITV have also been slated for failing to show accurate portrayals of sexual orientations, gender-identities, body diversity or racial representation on the show.

MPs on the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) Committee have launched an inquiry into the problems surrounding reality TV.

Feature image: ITV2

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Mike Thalassitis passed away by suicide after consuming alcohol and cocaine, according to an inquest.

The Love Island star was found dead on March 15, after being found hanged in a North London park.

The inquest at North London Coroner’s Court ruled the 26-year-old's death as a suicide, with his cause of death ruled as cerebral hypoxia by hanging. 

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There was both cocaine and alcohol found in his system as well as Fluoxetine, an anti-depressant. 

The reality TV star was found by a jogger, the whose statement was read out in court.

She said, ''At around 9.25pm I was jogging around Church Street recreational ground, however, I know this to be Latimer Park. A man was walking a dog so I changed my direction running along the tree line.''

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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She continued, ''Through the trees, I saw a man, I looked again and I thought the man was floating. I looked up and saw the rope and the man was hanging. I didn’t know what to do and I called my friend who said I should call the police.''

She added, ''I hung up the call to my friend and called the police to report what I found. I stayed on the phone speaking to the operator until I saw the two police officers enter the park. I briefly spoke to PC Emma Clawson. She told me to go home and she would call me. I did not approach the man or touch him. He was wearing a black jacket, black hat, black shoes.''

PC Emma Clawson revealed that a black notebook was found near Mike’s body with notes addressed to his family about his intentions to end his life.

Mike is the second star of Love Island to take his own life, with Series 2 contestant Sophie Gradon being found dead at her parents home in June 2018 aged 32-years-old. 

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Reality television star Jess Shears has just confirmed that she's expecting her first baby with former Love Island co-star and husband Dom Lever.

The couple appeared on the popular ITV show in 2017, and have just shared a lovely image of their sonogram alongside a snap of Jess' growing baby bump.

28-year-old Dom is also showing cradling his own tummy, in a show of support to the woman he married only last year.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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Dom shared the image to his Instagram, captioning the snap, "Living the dream." His 25-year-old wife posted an identical image, writing, "The best is yet to come"

This will be the first baby for the couple, who got engaged just three months after the series ended after getting off to a bumpy beginning.

Jess was accused of cheating on Dom with fellow Love Island contestant Mike Thalassitis after they both got evicted from the villa, but the scandal was later put behind them.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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The pair got married in Greece last October in a small ceremony attended by only 22 guests.

The couple are also infamous for their staged wedding on Good Morning Britain back in February of 2018, but the live TV nuptials weren't legally binding.

Eight months later, they tied the knot officially and now there's a brand new family member on the way. We wish the newlyweds a warm congrats on the pregnancy, and can't wait for more baby bump photos.

Feature image: Instagram/@domlever

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Love Island bosses have apparently decided to not pay an on-air tribute to reality star Mike Thalassitis at the beginning of season five.

The former contestant, who took part on the 2017 series alongside Chris Hughes, Kem Cetinay and Olivia Attwood, was found dead in the woods near North London in March.

It is believed that the 26-year-old tragically took his own life after his experience with mental health issues. The inquest into his death is scheduled for this month, so more information is incoming.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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The Love Island producers have decided to honour Mike in a tribute on ITV’s on-demand service, which plays the 2017 series and will soon be available as a box-set.

An insider told The Sun: "It felt more appropriate to do it there." It was recently claimed that contestants will have to pass STI tests and mental health screenings to gain acceptance to the new series following Mike's death.

“Bosses want stars to be safe mentally and physically. Their biggest nightmare would be someone contracting an STI, so potential contestants must have several rounds of medical tests," the source continued.

"Advance sessions with counsellors and psychologists have been ramped up to ensure that everyone can handle the fame.They are prepared to cut potentially strong personalities from the line-up if there is any hint of mental instability."

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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The hugely popular TV dating show returns the first weekend of June with a brand new crop of hopefuls seeking love and fame.

The suicide of 2016 contestant Sophie Gradon last year has led to a major shake-up for the 2019 series, with safeguards to look after contestants being introduced.

Participants will now be given social media training and financial management advice as well.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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The creative director of ITV Studios wrote in a statement on the new initiatives: “When something so awful happens we naturally enter a period of soul searching and ask whether anything could have been done."

“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," he continued. Social media, mental health and reality tv appear to go hand-in-hand.

Richard Cowles insisted Mike's death had nothing to do with the show, but improvements had to be made: "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.”

Dame Carolyn McCall,  ITV’s chief executive, insisted it would be ‘extremely tenuous’ to link the show to his passing; "I don’t think anybody has made a direct link between what happened to Mike and ‘Love Island’ and that is very important to say."

Instagram/@mike_thala_r.i.p_f.p

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In the wake of the tragic passings of former Love Island stars Mike Thalassitis and Sophie Gradon, the ITV show have considered their aftercare that they offer the contestants.

Mike, who took part in the 2017 series of the show, was found in a North London park last week, with police confirming he died by suicide aged 26. 

Sophie was a contestant in the villa in 2016 and her body was found at her parents home, in June 2018 – she was 32-years-old. 

Tributes poured in for the pairs the times of their deaths, with former co-stars calling for a stronger support system to be put in place for when the emerge back into the real world after a summer on the show. 

The show’s producer Richard Cowles wrote to The Metro that, ''When something so awful happens we naturally enter a period of soul searching and ask whether anything could have been done.''

Richard went on to outline the system in place – there's three key stages; pre-filming, filming, and aftercare.

He wrote, ''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. The medical team also contacts each Islander’s GP to check they feel that person is able to take part. We ask for full disclosure from potential cast members to these health professionals so that so that we can support them appropriately.''

He continued, ''Care continues whilst the Islanders are in the villa. We have a medical team on location which includes a psychological consultant. They not only look after Islanders’ healthcare needs, but also monitor them to check that there are no emerging signs of any problems developing whilst they are in the villa.''

However in light of Mike's passing, changed are being put into place. 

Image result for love island 2017

Richard wrote, ''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. And we will be delivering bespoke training to all future Islanders to include social media and financial management.''

He added, ''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.''

Fellow Love Island stars Jess Shears and Dom Lever are among the stars who have hit out at the ITV show for it's lack of care.

Jess posted on social media that, ''Shows offer you “support” but realistically it’s only while you are in their care. Minute you get home & are no longer making them money it’s out of sight out of mind. There should be ongoing support & also financial advice. Life after these shows isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.'' 

We hope that with these revisions in place, that future tragedies can be avoided. 

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