Jonny Mitchell claims the only time he has received a call from Love Island offering “any kind of counselling or help” was yesterday (17.03.19) – in the wake of his pal and former co-star Mike Thalassitis’ death.
The 28-year-old star says the aftercare call was “almost quite laughable” and “too little too late”, and came after he had a “particularly bad time of it” following his appearance on the ITV2 show in 2017, when he was trolled to “ridiculous amounts”.
Mike also competed in the 2017 series of the dating show, and he was found dead aged 26 in woodland in North London on Saturday morning.
Jonny told BBC Radio 5 Live’s ‘Breakfast’ show: “I’m not here to discredit the show but one of my friends has died so I’m here to tell the absolute truth.
“As far as aftercare goes… when I came off the show I was trolled to ridiculous amounts, as a lot of people were, but I had a particularly bad time of it.
“The only time I ever had a call off that show offering any kind of counselling or help was yesterday, obviously after Mike’s died and they’ve said, ‘If you need to talk to anyone.’
“And to be honest I found it almost quite laughable. I just thought, how am I getting this phone call now? This is too little too late.
“They all follow us on Instagram, they all read the papers, they all know what’s going on.”
Jonny claims he tried to walk out of the show twice during the series but he found there was a “very pushy process”, and alleges show bosses made it “so difficult” he almost felt almost “trapped”.
He said: “I wasn’t very familiar with the show when I signed up… as time went on I was watching the series before, and I was thinking to myself, ‘I don’t want to do this, really I’m not interested, this is way too much pressure.’
“I vocalised this a lot to the producers that ‘I’m not feeling it’. It’s a very pushy process, once they’ve got something in mind of what they want to do you’re pushed very strongly.
“So the fact you don’t want to do it or you’re having reservations about it doesn’t really come into it… [and they say] ‘No you’ll be fine,’ Even on the show I tried to walk out twice, and it’s the same situation again.
“The process in order to leave – they make it so difficult that you are almost… I don’t know – I was trapped in there.”
And while Jonny admits the show did warn Islanders of “risks” ahead of his first episode, he believes people should be “more aware of the mental health side of it”.
“So take it into consideration, if you have a lot going for you, if you have a good job that might not take you back then don’t do it. Don’t go for the show,” he said.
“People need to be more aware of the mental health side of it, they need to know that you might come into contact with trolling, and it might make you struggle with life.”
However, Love Island have claimed they take aftercare of Islanders “very seriously” and ensure contributors have access to psychological support “before during and after appearing on the show”.
They said in a statement: “Care for 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.”
Leave us a comment on our Facebook page @EntertainmentDailyFix.
If you or someone you know is struggling with mental health issues or suicidal thoughts, call Samaritans free on 116 123.