By Lucy Cooper

3rd May 2019

Megan Love Island Prompts New Mental Health Test For The Show’s Contestants

‘Love Island’ contestants will have to pass new mental health AND STI tests to be accepted on this year’s series, as advocated by Megan Love Island.

Reality TV star Megan Barton Hanson is one of the major catalysts for this new introduction by the Love Island bosses. She’s constantly hitting the headlines since appearing on Love Island 2018. Her most recent headline came after Megan revealed she had called an ambulance following a fatal allergic reaction to a hair dye (of all things!) that forced her to miss the trip of a lifetime to Coachella (at least she hadn’t paid for it, being the ‘influencer’ she is).

We’ve got to give it to the Love Island star- she has used her platform to shout about her battles with mental illness and has in turn helped to open up the conversation around the volatility of mental health following a stint in the Love Island villa. Following the tragic suicided of two Love Island stars- Sophie Gradon in 2018 and Mike Thalassitis earlier this year- the eyes of the Nation and the Love Island bosses have been forced open.

Bosses insisted that focus on the mental health of their contestants was paramount both during and after their stint on the island, but following the tragic losses of two of their ex contestants, as well as others opening up about their struggles, including Megan Barton Hanson, it’s been made clear that more has to be done.

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So proud to be on the cover of @graziauk I hope that my little journey shows that anything is possible. Your past doesnโ€™t dictate your future. For so long I placed a ceiling on myself, my self doubt convincing me that I wasnโ€™t enough, that I couldnโ€™t be who I dreamed of being. I can genuinely say that I have left the villa believing that I can, I can do it and I will. Thank you to all of those that are believing in me, that are helping fuel that sense of I can. Own your past, donโ€™t let anyone make you feel ashamed of who you are or what you have been through to get there. Iโ€™m finally starting to love myself and it feels good. Thank you everyone for your support, I promise to use this opportunity to spread the word of positivity, self belief and female empowerment. Happy Tuesday everyone. Meg. โค๏ธโค๏ธโค๏ธ #selfbelief #femaleempowerment #loveyourself #ownit #everythingispossible #dreambigdreams https://graziadaily.co.uk/celebrity/news/megan-barton-hanson-love-island-grazia/

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Ahead of appearing on the ITV2 show this summer, the stars are expected to undergo “several rounds of medical tests”, including some for sexual transmitted infections, and they will reportedly attend “advance sessions with counsellors and psychologists” to ensure they can handle the upcoming fame.

A source said:

“Bosses want stars to be safe mentally and physically. Their biggest nightmare would be someone contracting an STI, so potential contestants must have several rounds of medical tests.

“Advance sessions with counsellors and psychologists have been ramped up to ensure that everyone can handle the fame.”

Show bosses are said to be prepared to axe potential contestants if they show “any hint of mental instability”.

The source added to The Sun newspaper:

“They are prepared to cut potentially strong personalities from the line-up if there is any hint of mental instability.”

megan love island soph

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In March, Richard Cowles, creative director of ITV Studios, admitted contestants on the ITV2 dating show will receive more support and ITV will be “proactively checking in” with former ‘Love Island’ stars “on a regular basis”.

He wrote:

“When something so awful happens we naturally enter a period of soul searching and ask whether anything could have been done. This review has led us to extend our support processes to offer therapy to all Islanders and not only those that reach out to us.

And we will be delivering bespoke training to all future Islanders to include social media and financial management. The key focus will be for us to no longer be reliant on the Islanders asking us for support but for us to proactively check in with them on a regular basis … We work with an independent GP and a psychological consultant to provide an assessment of the physical and mental health of each of the shortlisted cast members and their suitability for inclusion.”

While Richard made the announcement just days after former ‘Love Island’ contestant Mike Thalassitis was found dead aged 26, ITV’s chief executive Dame Carolyn McCall later insisted it would be “extremely tenuous” to link the show to his passing.

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She said:

“I don’t think anybody has made a direct link between what happened to Mike and ‘Love Island’ and that is very important to say.

“It would be an extremely tenuous thing to do given he was very happy on ‘Love Island’ and all of his mates have actually said that, and he has done two other reality TV shows in the two-year gap.

“We can do everything we possibly can to look after people and to do our duty of care but you can’t do that forever with an individual.

“There has got to be a framework and it will come to an end. It can’t be indefinite.”

What’s more, former ‘Love Island’ star Sophie Gradon died by suicide in 2018 aged 32.

A prime example of the effects instant fame and the scrutiny of the public eye can have on contestants, is Megan Barton- the bubbly blonde star of Love Island 2018.

Megan Love Island bravely opened up about to her 1.8 million followers about her struggles with depression and anxiety. The Love Island star revealed candidly that she had fought suicidal thoughts previously and had broken down to her mum because she ‘didn’t want to be alive anymore’.

The ex of Wes Nelson really let down her walls, revealing her coping mechanism to be faking a persona. Megan has also been ridiculed for her decision to undergo plastic surgery, after images of her as a teen emerged.

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Today is world Mental health Day. Iโ€™ve put writing this off all day as depression and anxiety are still pretty raw for me and part of who I am. Mental health issues are more common than ever especially with the increased use of social media and the resulting feelings of inadequacy. Itโ€™s funny because a lot of the time itโ€™s the people that appear strongest on the outside that can also be the ones suffering the most on the inside. You just donโ€™t know what they are dealing with on a daily basis. It doesnโ€™t seem like that long ago that it took so much just to get the mental strength for me to get out of bed and face the world each morning. A lot of People cant get their heads around why if I was so depressed and suffering from anxiety I would go on a reality show. For me itโ€™s was a make or brake moment. Id suffered on and off with mental health problems since my teens. At the end of 2017/early 2018 was probably the lowest Iโ€™d ever felt. There were a few times that I just didnโ€™t want to wake up, I had suicidal thoughts, and had even gone to my mum sobbing about what I should do as I didnโ€™t want to be alive anymore. My way of coping was putting on a persona for social media, partying, earning money and buying half of Harrods! None of it helped, maybe for 5 mins it distracted me from what was going on inside but as soon as I was back in my flat on my own the negative thoughts and emotions would return. I was sad and lonely with it, my own mind working against me. I did some therapy and that helped me by providing techniques for coping in moments of crisis. Iโ€™m so lucky that the Love Island opportunity arrived when it did. I didn't realise at the time what the impact of being away from it all in the villa would have on my mental state. I thought it would make me famous and I would earn lots of money and that would bring me happiness but actually it was more like a rehab retreat for me stripping everything back and forcing me to see what was most important in my life. Meeting people and experiencing them loving me not for the persona I was presenting online gave me strength and made me realise that I need to love myself more. (Continues in comments)

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Megan’s intimate post reiterates that those characters who appear outwardly the most confident and charismatic may be the ones struggling. We have to praise and respect Megan, as she breaks her silence so will many others feel brave enough to. Her opening up raised awareness around the need for adequate mental health assessment not just during, but BEFORE and AFTER the show. Being forced so quickly and forcefully in to the limelight can be a lot for anyone, not to mention those whose mental health is volatile.

So, who will be brave enough to take on the Island this year?

Let’s see a few of the predictions for this year’s Love Island, who – if starring in this year’s edition – will have already had their mental health assessments thanks to new regulations…

Braelin Kail- the 20 year old model

American social media star (is it just me, or does she look like Megan Love Island?) was approached on Twitter by bosses:

“I really just got asked to be on the show Love Islandโ€ฆ”

 

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this is so HD im kinda uneasy

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Ercan Ramadan- the Essex charmer

He might have recently been paraded on Vicky Pattinson’s Insta, but this hasn’t stopped producers from giving him ‘the call’.

The builder is mates withย 2018 winner, Jack Fincham and has also appeared on a series of TOWIE- so he’s no stranger to showbiz. Surely this one has to be a rumour though? Poor Vick…

Jane Park- the youngest EuroMillions winner

Do we all remember when 17 year old Jane bagged a hefty ยฃ1mil, making her the youngest ever EuroMillions winner. She confessed on her Twitter at the start of this year that she had completed her 2018 new year’s resolution of no more surgery- a bit of a different one.

It’s not all it’s cracked up to be though, according to Jane, having been very unlucky in love since her win. She’s reportedly is ready to find ‘the one’ now though:

“Jane has made it clear she is on the lookout for the perfect guy and reckons Love Island is a great place to start.”

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Meet me at the club

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Sairah Pinnock- Little Mixer’s sister

Does this face look familiar? It might just do, as the next rumoured Islander is none other than Little Mix singer’s Leigh-Anne Pinnock’s big sis!

She’s madeย a name for herself in her own right, running a celebrity events planning business (@inclusiveindustry). Their list of clientele of course includes her little sister’s band; we think she’d bring the party to the Island!

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Sis just got a brit award #proud

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Ethan Allen- brother to an ex- Islander

This hottie is the little brother of Love Island’s Gabby Allen, who appeared in the 2017 instalment of the show. He was rumoured to be heading on to the island last year as well, having sparked interest after surprising Gabby in her series.

Following in his sister’s footsteps…

There’s no denying the Leeds Grad is a looker, so if he was to go in I’m sure he’d have the potential to break a few hearts!

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๐Ÿšญ๐Ÿšญ๐Ÿšญ๐Ÿšญ๐Ÿšญ

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Amelia Goodman- has a famous sister

She’s the little sister of reality star Chloe Goodman and Instagram influencer Lauryn Goodman! She’s not doing bad herself on the old Instagram front, either, having a healthy 22k following! So, in true sister style, she’s set to be keeping it in the family…

Taylor Ward- her Mum’s a Real Housewife

Just last week, the producers were scanning Durham’s Fabios bar, looking for potentials. It’s a hotspot for students, so we’re guessing there might be one or two in there!

A big rumour last year was that RHOC’s Dawn Ward’s daughter, Taylor, would be hitting the island. She didn’t quite make it there last year, but we’re thinking she might appear this time round! Hopefully she brings the drama like her Mum…

Arianna Ajtar- the Insta Girl

If you’ve ever scrolled through the homepage of Instagram, then you’ve probably seen this girl. She boasts a cool 320k followers on the platform, which she has cleverly monetised, developing her own brand ‘marsthelabel’ which she promotes on her page.

She’s a down to Earth Northerner who judging by her page loves a bev or 10 and having a good time. She’d be the perfect candidate to bring the glam to the island.

Mitch Palmer- dated an ex- Islander

He’s the Essex bad boy who would probably spend more time getting ready than any of the girls on the island. We’re not complaining though? He’s also mingled in the Love Island scene before, having dated ex- Islander, Kady McDermott last year for a few months until it all ended in a classic Twitter unfollow…

 

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Letโ€™s get it

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Calum Best- making his return

Did you know that Mr Calum Best is actually an OG Love Islander, actually appearing in the second series back in 2006? Not only did he appear, he actually WON the thing alongside another football legend’s daughter- Bianca Gascoigne. LI are apparently said to throw it back this year and one of the names in the mix is Best’s. He’d certainly be a welcomed addition…

Saffron Barker- the 18 year old Vlogger

She’s the 18 year old Youtube sensation going on 30, with an impressive 1.9 mil subscribers on her channel and a 1.1 mil following on her Insta! These producers are clever and know how to target different audiences- which is certainly something getting ‘SaffyB’ on the island would achieve (all her die hard fans will be on their couches at 9pm sharp).

Samir Kamani

He’s one third of the infamous Kamani brothers, who along with their Dad, own some of the biggest fashion brands in the UK – including PLT, Boohoo and Nasty Gal; Samir’s share in particular is in Nasty Gal, easily making him millions a year. He’s said to be interested in the idea of LI, clearly not for the money in it, but for the added publicity it would bring to his brand and also genuinely to look for someone special to share his empire with.

He regularly runs in the same circles as ex- Islanders including Josh Denzel and Wes Nelson and also has been pictured getting steamy with one of our fave Islanders- Alexandra Crane, when she left the island.

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Drip soon drop ๐Ÿ’ง @boohoomanofficial

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Jess Hunt- the Instagram influencer

Having a scroll through her Insta is enough to leave you feeling a bit sad, with each post seeming to be from a different exotic destination! Mallorca might not be her scene…

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My final coachella look ๐ŸŽก๐ŸŒด

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Holly Boon- Make-up Master

She’s recently announced her split with her long-term boyfriend, so is single and ready to mingle- and the Island might just be the place for it. She can do a thing or two with a make-up brush and if you’ve watched any of her Youtube vids, you’ll know she can bring the sass as well.

Brad Howard- Scotty Special’s mate

He’s actually good mates with ex- Islander Scotty Special, who went down as a fan favourite. If he’s anything like Scotty, we think he’ll be a hit…

His good looks will help him along as well, look at him! Is anyone shocked he’s a model? He also has his own clothing brand ‘IL Sarto’, so realistically he surely can’t need the money LI would earn him!

 

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