This year's Love Island contestants will receive extensive mental health supervision 2 months ago

This year's Love Island contestants will receive extensive mental health supervision

This can only be a good thing.

We are mere days away from Love Island season eight kicking off, and let's just say anticipation is already running high.

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A whole new group of contestants are about to enter the (brand new) villa, and this season, while the romance and drama will no doubt be similar to what we have become accustomed to from previous seasons, this year, ITV is changing up things when it comes to the pre- and post care the contestants are getting before and after going into the Love Island villa.

Following understandable ongoing concerns about the show's impact on contestants' mental health, and the suicides of former Love Islanders Mike Thalassitis in 2019, and Sophie Gradon in 2018, as well as the show's original presenter Caroline Flack who died by suicide in 2020, ITV has made some important changes to their duty of care protocols.

Back in 2018, the channel launched a review of participant welfare processes, and this year, they have gone even further when it comes to how the contestants are taken care of, both before they enter and once they exit the villa.

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Duty of care

According to Glamour, this year, before they enter the villa, contestants will watch a video fronted by the show’s executive producer and head of welfare, which will interview former Islanders about their experiences on the show. This will include details on “the two week period before they enter the Villa, how to cope with being filmed 24/7, the interaction they will have with producers in the Villa, the support provided to family members, dealing with social media trolling, and adapting to life away from the show.”

Yesterday ITV released their full duty of care protocols for Love Island season eight:

Pre-filming and filming
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  • Contestants will have access to a registered mental health professional throughout the whole series, including aftercare.
  • The contestants will receive thorough psychological and medical assessments prior to filming.
  • Potential contestants are required to disclose in confidence any medical history that would be relevant to their inclusion in the Villa and the production’s ability to provide a suitable environment for them.
  • Contestants will receive detailed explanations of the implications, both good and bad, of going on the show in order to manage their expectations.
  • The senior team on the ground have received training in Mental Health First Aid.
  • There will be a welfare team solely dedicated to the Islanders both during the show and after.
Aftercare
  • Contestants will receive bespoke training on dealing with social media and advice on finance and adjusting to life back home.
  • Each contestant will be offered a minimum of eight therapy sessions after leaving the villa.
  • The show will keep in proactive contact with the contestants for 14 months after the series has ended, offering additional help where applicable.
  • Contestants are encouraged 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.

Inclusion training

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As well as an extended duty of care protocol, this year's Love Island contestants will get inclusion training.

The training will be focusing on "language around disability, sexuality, race and ethnicity, behaviours and microaggressions” after the show has been criticised in the past for its treatment of coloured contestants – in particular black women.

In a press release, Ade Rawcliffe,  the Group Director of Diversity and Inclusion at ITV, said:

“The world we live in is changing every day, and we want all of our Islanders to feel they are part of an inclusive environment in the Villa. As part of our duty of care process, it is also important we play our part in educating our participants to understand and empathise with different perspectives and lived experiences.”