I had a completely different blog post planned for this evening but in light of the recent events around the cancellation of the Jeremy Kyle show the past few days, I wanted to talk about it and how the media industry and social media seems to be having such an effect on mental health today. I’m going to let my honesty and opinion run free within this blog post and this post is not intended to offend anyone, it’s simply my opinion of recent events and the effects social media and tv are having on peoples mental health.
If you haven’t heard of The Jeremy Kyle Show, it’s a show in its own category. It’s a TV show that sees families and friends take the stage to argue about a situation that’s occurred and they take lie detector tests and the results are presented and essentially it’s a safe place for an entire family to come on and argue out a situation and they are provided counselling and professionals to work with them to overcome the situation they are going through. However, some of the people who go on this show are just crazy and daft but some are really seeking help and some episodes are serious and some result in hilarious day time TV.
If you YouTube search ‘Jeremy Kyle clips’ you’ll be able to see what I’m talking about. Unfortunately, a few days ago it was reported that a gentleman who had recorded an episode a week or so ago for The Jeremy Kyle show had committed suicide after his lie detector results were revealed. Immediately the show has been cancelled by ITV and all previous episodes recorded that were set to air will no longer air.
Now, from what I have read on social media and the many news outlets within the UK there is a very mixed reaction. Some are saying that the show took advantage of those who were at their weakest point and made a laughing stock of them. This I agree with, I often found myself laughing at some people on the show simply because of the reasons they were on the show – I watched an episode once with the tag line “my boyfriend sat on my hamster and killed it” .. Not every episode had tag lines as ridiculous as this, I’ve also watched episodes that have reunited families, allowed people to find out who their real parents were and other situations like this that have done so much good for families and some episodes I’ve been in tears at because the end result has been so heart warming. It just seems that some episodes are so ridiculous but at the same time the people who have gone on The Jeremy Kyle Show willingly went on that show and knew that there life and the situation being discussed would end up on national television. After all, it’s been on TV for 15 years now so it’s pretty clear what ends up being aired. The other side of the argument is that you can’t cancel one show because it was supposedly the reason for someone ending their life and not another show that has had the same detrimental effect.
15 years of this TV show being aired and this is the first and only fatality because of the show and it’s been cancelled indefinitely..
Now, Love Island is an entire different show where a number of single men and women, fly to Spain and all live within the same house and are supposed to fall in love and find their true love. It’s a competition and at the end the winning couple win a large sum of money. You couple up weekly and you have to be in a couple to move through the weeks. Now, these are all just ordinary people who enter the love island villa and when they leave after 6-8 weeks they are famous and loved because of the nature of the show. It’s a hit with the millennial generation and it’s trending on all social platforms every time an episode airs. You’ve more than likely seen a Love Island meme somewhere, that’s how viral it goes once it’s airing.
Love Island will be airing its fifth season this June yet it has already been the supposed cause of two suicides yet another season is about to air..
Sophie Gradon and Mike Thalassitis were contestants on season two and season three of the hit series and both took their own lives after their mental health suffered after being on the show. A number of other contestants from the previous series have also spoken out about how their mental health has suffered after being thrown into the limelight after being on the show and how there is no after care for contestants once they leave the Love Island villa. They have spoken of how you go into the villa as normal, everyday people and leave with thousands of social media followers and management teams waiting for them with endorsement deals ready to sign and get on with when they walk out the villa.
The main reason for this discussion of mine is that there has been outrage the past few days because one show of 15 years has had its first fatality and been cancelled, yet a show with only 4 series and two fatalities and a number of other contestants reporting that there mental health is being affected because of the lack of after care is somehow continuing and is about to air its fifth series this June.. Both shows are broadcast by ITV.
Putting the two shows side by side and looking at how one has been cancelled and one is about to air another series seems a little odd to me.
I often feel like so much is said within the media and within social media about mental health yet nothing is being done. The gentleman who appeared on The Jeremy Kyle Show was apparently given amazing after care after appearing on the show according to his wife yet he still decided to take his own life. Yet a number of past contestants of love island have been calling for better after care for when contestants leave the show as they are struggling to cope with the huge life change and how to adjust to being thrust into the spotlight.
My own personal opinion of this entire situation is that for both TV shows, the people who decide to go onto these shows go on their willingly. They know exactly what the show entails and they still decide to put themselves on national television! In my opinion, only those who were on the first series of love island won’t have known what being on the show meant for them, but everyone in series to follow will have. They will have seen the life change of those who were on the show before them and surely should have thought “if I go on this show, this may happen and everything will change”.
Whilst I do agree with all previous contestants that clearly love island need to provide better after care for their contestants, that part is true. That is one huge thing about the hit series that needs severe improvement. However, ITV or any other broadcasting station is not and cannot be held responsible for the people on social media who troll and insult and are cruel to anyone who enters onto reality TV. That responsibility is with the individuals who write the online abuse and the social media companies who currently aren’t doing much to protect its users from online abuse. Especially Twitter. Twitter is one of the biggest social media platforms that allows someone to send direct trolling to another person and I do truly believe that there needs to be a better system in place that can somehow stop the amount of online abuse that big personalities on social media receive.
With all of this in mind, I disagree with the decision of cancelling Jeremy Kyle and I don’t think Love Island should be cancelled either. Both shows bring entertainment and better the lives of those who participate. My favourite couple from Love island are Olivia and Alex Bowen who are now married, own their own home and have their own businesses. This is something they’ve both spoken about on social media that they probably wouldn’t have done had they not have been on Love Island but there is no denying that more needs to be done in order too support contestants more. Cancelling The Jeremy Kyle Show will have meant that hundreds of people lost their jobs immediately as well, which just seems so unfair. How can one show and one set of people lose their jobs but another can’t?
At the end of the day, mental health is and has been a major issue within recent years and it is only becoming more concerning. More needs to be done around these shows to help those who participate but cancelling these shows won’t do anything to improve mental health. Instead it should use these shows to show mental health issues and how they can be overcome and better supported.
To anyone who’s mental health is suffering, I see you, I hear you and if you ever need someone to talk too, I am here. Please don’t suffer in silence, please tell or talk to a loved one or friend. It may seem daunting at first or that your burdening them with your struggles but I can promise you one thing. Your friends and family would rather know and try to help you than not know and one day realise you were struggling in silence.