EXCLUSIVE: Love Islanders deny mental health problems, says ex-Islander Charlie Brake
by Claire Muffett-Reece
Love Islanders will deny mental health problems, says ex-Islander Charlie Brake
It shouldn’t have taken Mike Thalassitis’ suicide for ITV to get back in contact
It was only after the tragic loss of Love Island star Mike Thalassitis that fellow Islanders received any notable aftercare, according to 2018 Islander Charlie Brake.
Yesterday he exclusively told Celebrity Secrets’ editor Claire Muffett-Reece about the inadequacies of the psychological support Love Island contestants received. “[When I left the villa] I was told I was ‘still part of the ITV family’ and that ‘this wasn’t the final goodbye’, but after that I didn’t hear much from ITV again in terms of aftercare. Love Island was then connected with the tragic suicide of one of its stars – Mike Thalassitis – and it was only then that I was contacted by ITV to say they were ‘there for us, should we need to talk’. It should not have taken this long for them to suddenly decide to get back in contact.”
He even considers the psychological assessment Islanders received before entering the villa in 2018 to be ‘very basic’.
He told Claire, “Before being accepted to go on Love Island we had to audition. If successful we were then asked to have a medical which involved talking to the in-house psychologist. It was all very basic, with questions such as, ‘Do you ever feel anxious?’ or, ‘Are you having trouble sleeping?’”
He even told Claire that prospective Islanders were unlikely to tell the truth about their mental well-being, saying, “If you’re hoping to go on a show like Love Island then believe me, you’re not going to answer ‘yes’ to any of these questions.”
Charlie’s opinion seems to conflict with that of Dr Alex George and Megan Barton-Hanson who were each interviewed separately for the latest issue of Celebrity Secrets. Dr Alex said, “ITV have been very supportive, with counselling for as long as I need,” and Megan said that ITV and the Love Island production team “really looked after us in terms of our mental health.”
Nevertheless, after the deaths of former Love Island contestants, Mike Thalassitis and Sophie Gradon – as well as Aaron Armstrong, Sophie’s boyfriend who had no connection to the show – ITV introduced several new duty of care processes and enhanced psychological support before the 2019 contestants arrived on the island.
“The show this year has highlighted that people aren’t really looking to find love – fame and followers are very high up on the agenda instead,” says Charlie.
He also shared his mental health advice to this year’s Islanders with Claire: “Brace yourself for the highs of coming out of the villa and to the sudden dip of fame. I’ve been lucky to have something to fall back on after the show, whereas I think with a lot of others the work starts to dry up.”
And for those who aspire to be on the 2020 series, he says, “Really think about it before applying, and, if that’s what you want, you should talk it through with friends and family. Good luck!”
Whatever you’re going through, you can call Samaritans free any time on 116 123 (this number will not appear on your phone bill), email firstname.lastname@example.org or you can find details of your nearest branch at www.samaritans.org.
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