LOVE Island star Chris Hughes has spoken out to defend ITV bosses following the tragic suicides of several reality television stars.
The dating show has recently come under fire from previous contestants and viewers after the deaths of young stars Sophie Gradon, 32, and Mike Thalassitis, 26.
And the channel bosses faced further criticism after it was revealed yesterday that a guest had died shortly after filming for The Jeremy Kyle show.
However, Chris, 26, jumped to their defence when he was quizzed about the topic of aftercare at Chestertons Polo in the Park on Friday.
The reality star claimed that show bosses couldn’t be ‘mind readers’ and said reality stars needed to speak out if they are struggling with their mental health.
He said: “I’ve always been told there’s that support system there and if you’re struggling you have to speak out about it.
“People can’t read your mind, it would be great if people could.”
Chris also revealed how he had been very happy with the support that he had received since leaving Love Island as a runner up in 2017.
“I’ve always had so much support, especially when filming my own shows through ITV,” he confessed.
He added: “I found it very difficult at times when it came to workload, filming and personal relationships and things became quite stressful.
“It’s not easy to then uphold this image on camera, you just want to be yourself.
“When it’s difficult it’s nice to have reassurance from other people and have someone to speak to who isn’t going to judge you.
The hunk later urged anyone who is struggling to seek help and recommended using helplines if speaking to friends and family wasn’t an option.
He explained: “If you struggle to speak openly to friends and family then there’s someone on the end of the phone you can speak to who’s not going to judge you, who will know how to talk to you and try and get a genuine understanding.”
YOU'RE NOT ALONE
EVERY 90 minutes in the UK a life is lost to suicide.
It doesn’t discriminate, touching the lives of people in every corner of society – from the homeless and unemployed to builders and doctors, reality stars and footballers.
It’s the biggest killer of people under the age of 35, more deadly than cancer and car crashes.
And men are three times more likely to take their own life than women.
Yet it’s rarely spoken of, a taboo that threatens to continue its deadly rampage unless we all stop and take notice, now.
That is why The Sun launched the You’re Not Alone campaign.
The aim is that by sharing practical advice, raising awareness and breaking down the barriers people face when talking about their mental health, we can all do our bit to help save lives.
Let’s all vow to ask for help when we need it, and listen out for others… You’re Not Alone.
If you, or anyone you know, needs help dealing with mental health problems, the following organisations provide support:
- CALM, www.thecalmzone.net, 0800 585 858
- Heads Together, www.headstogether.org.uk
- Mind, www.mind.org.uk, 0300 123 3393
- Papyrus, www.papyrus-uk.org, 0800 068 41 41
- Samaritans, www.samaritans.org, 116 123
Chris’s comments come shortly after furious fans of The Jeremy Kyle Show accused ITV bosses of hypocrisy after taking the show off air indefinitely, but failing to axe Love Island.
One fan fumed: “Can someone at @ITV please explain why there’s talk of pulling the Jeremy Kyle Show for good when someone has died, but you’re still adamant about Love Island starting in a few weeks.
“I seem to remember guests from that show have died recently too…? Thanks.”
Another added: “So Jeremy Kyle gets cancelled due to the possible effect it had resulting in a participants death, yet Love Island has had two participants take their own life in a far shorter period of time? If you’re gonna pretend you care about mental health ITV at least be consistent.”
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In a letter to The Sun, Love Island’s creative director Richard Cowles said therapy would now be available to “all Islanders and not only those that reach out to us.”
Love Island first launched in 2005 before being remade in 2015.
The Jeremy Kyle Show, which has been running for 14 years, is ITV’s top-rated daytime programme.
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