Sophie Gradon claimed 'there was no aftercare' following Love Island appearance

Sophie Gradon 'did not receive aftercare' following Love Island appearance

Friday, June 22, 2018

Sophie Gradon reportedly told an acquaintance there was no psychological aftercare following her appearance on Love Island.

The 32-year-old was found dead on Wednesday (June 20) at her parents’ house in Medburn, near Newcastle-upon-Tyne.

Her cause of death has not officially been confirmed as police are still preparing a report for the coroner, but friends of Ms Gradon’s have speculated that she took her own life.

Three months ago, Ms Gradon took part in a conference about bullying and spoke about her experience on Love Island to psychologist Emma Kenny.

“She said there was no aftercare,” Ms Kenny told talkRADIO.

Watch Sophie speaking at the conference above. She appears at 31:15

Ms Kenny has worked as a psychologist on several documentaries but stressed that she has not worked on Love Island or specifically in reality TV.

ITV told talkRADIO that they do offer psychological aftercare to Love Island contestants, and a tweet by Ms Gradon in 2017 appeared to suggest that they do. 

It is not clear whether Sophie was offered aftercare but declined, or if she was alleging there was none in place.

“She was there very much from the position of, ‘I came out, my life was terrible, I went to an incredibly dark place and I’m still dealing with the repercussions of that’,” said Ms Kenny, of Ms Gradon’s appearance at the conference.

“It was all about how hideous her experience was afterwards. She was saying she was only just coming to terms with the impact and feeling able to cope.”

Malin Andersson, a former Love Island contestant who appeared on the show in 2016 alongside Ms Gradon, told BBC Newsbeat: "There just needs to be more done about it and a lot more aftercare provided by certain reality TV shows.”

Mental health assessments are important for reality show contestants so they are able to make a “conscious decision” about appearing on the show, says Ms Kenny.

Reality TV 'has most mental health concerns'

She described how she assesses potential participants on the shows that she’s worked on.

“I ask them lots of generic questions about where they are in their life, what’s brought them to this position, what their expectations are for taking part, and a series of mental health questions because I want to know if they’ve suffered any long-term issues.

“While that shouldn’t discount them, very often I would suggest to the production company that they pass on those individuals.”

“The hardest fame is reality fame,” she continued.

“I work across the board with celebrities. Where do I find the most mental health concerns? Reality TV. It’s to do with the fact they haven’t got a specific talent.

“When you get instantly famous, everybody thinks it’ll be nice. It’s not nice to go from nobody knowing who you are in the street to suddenly everybody having a viewpoint on you.

“But we have to remember people are choosing to go into these situations, and adults have a right to do that.

“The production companies are just getting the right cast, and their job is to create an absolute blinder of a production.

“Reality TV is a great place, but the mental resilience you need to do it is huge.”