Belfast Telegraph

Towie cast members praise mental health support provided by the show

The death of Mike Thalassitis has opened a debate on support given to reality TV stars.

Cast members from The Only Way Is Essex have heaped praise on the show for the after care on offer (John Walton/PA)
Cast members from The Only Way Is Essex have heaped praise on the show for the after care on offer (John Walton/PA)

Cast members from The Only Way Is Essex have praised the show for the support and after care on offer.

Following the death of former Love Island contestant Mike Thalassitis, the level of support given to reality TV stars has been under the spotlight.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock said he was “moved” by the 26-year-old’s death and added that reality shows have a duty of care for contestants after they become famous.

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Former Love Island contestant Mike Thalassitis (Ian West/PA)

Towie star Tommy Mallet – who was praised for opening up on his battle with depression last year – said he is happy with the support he has received from the programme.

He said: “We’re looked after on Towie, I don’t know about any other show, I can’t talk for anyone else, but we were looked after. I had a breakdown and I was heavily looked after.”

Mallet, who previously revealed his mental health struggles left him unable to leave the house, said small actions can have a big impact on helping someone in trouble.

He said: “You can just do your bit. You can’t change the world but you can change someone’s life, I suppose. Little bits and pieces, smiling at people can help, just trying to be nice.”

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Tommy Mallet (Ian West/PA)

Yazmin Oukhellou made her Towie debut in 2017. She revealed she has suffered from depression but was helped by having a therapist on hand.

She said: “And it’s not just a phone call, the therapist will come to your house and they are there whenever you need them. That’s definitely a bonus.”

Oukhellou said she had to take a break from filming the show but has returned following an improvement in her mental health.

“Now I’m so positive and my mindset is so different”, she added.

James Lock has appeared on Towie since 2013. He said the cast have had “loads of support”, adding: “It’s been amazing. Full credit to everyone at Towie.”

Thalassitis was the second Love Island star to die in less than 12 months. Sophie Gradon, 32, who appeared on season two of the reality show in 2016, was found dead in June last year.

Love Island said it will offer “bespoke training” to all future contestants, with a focus on helping with social media and financial management after they achieve overnight fame on Love Island, which has become a cultural phenomenon attracting millions of viewers each season.

PA

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