Do Reality TV Shows Need A HR Review To Support Mental Health? Jeremy Kyle has been cancelled. Following the tragic news of a suicide of one of the contestants following their appearance on the show, the longstanding ITV production has been removed from TV. And now, the government is demanding broadcasters and reality TV take more consideration of the contestants on their shows.
The Prime Minister’s official spokesman said the death of a man who had appeared on the daytime show was “a deeply concerning case”. Steve Dymond went on the show in a bid to convince his fiancee that he had not been unfaithful. He took a lie detector test but failed. He continued to protest his innocence and was found dead a week later.
“Broadcasters and production companies have a responsibility for the mental health and wellbeing of participants and viewers of their programmes.
“We are clear they must have appropriate levels of support in place,” Downing Street said.
The president of the Royal College of Psychiatrists, Prof Simon Wessely, also said the show should be dropped. “It’s the theatre of cruelty. Yes, it might entertain a million people a day but, then again, so did Christians versus lions. Of course the reality TV show will not be the only factor implicated, but like all social media, this show is an amplifying force” Wessely commented.
Previous guests on the show have also given details of their experiences that uncover worrying allegations. Dwayne Davidson appeared on the show in 2014 and discussed his experience with The Guardian. The below excerpt has been taken from The Guardian, May 2019.
“Seeing the show offer of a free lie-detector test to set the record straight, Dwayne and his girlfriend texted the programme. What blindsided them was the speed with which events took place. A producer rang back and invited them to travel up to the show’s filming base in Salford. “’Within an hour there was a taxi at the door’, he said. ‘You don’t have time to think about it or phone your family. Once you’re at the hotel, you feel you have to do the show. My mum begged me not to go on’. “He admitted he came across as surly and aggressive on the programme, swearing and doubting the words of his partner, while being accused of shoving a fellow guest and being rude to staff. He said this was a result of being kept in a backstage room largely on his own for most a day before filming began. In his telling, he was provoked by Kyle and the producers. ‘They tell you over and over again when you’re backstage that Jeremy hates people who don’t talk.’ He said he was advised to wear a tracksuit rather than jeans to fit the desired image. ‘They’re good at manipulating – it’s almost magic what they do.'”
Jeremy Kyle isn’t the only reality TV programme accused of manipulating contestants and damaging their mental health. The issue of lack of support upon leaving a reality show too has also been brought into the spotlight again. Two contestants on ITV’s
Love Island tragically ended up taking their own lives due to feeling unsupported after their stint on the show had come to an end.
As this week is #MentalHealthAwarenessWeek it’s important to remember how important it is to support your staff and colleagues.
HR Director for ELAS, Emma O’Leary says: “
It’s important that employers fully understand the effects that stress can have on both the individual and the workplace productivity as a whole. In fact, as many as one in six UK workers will be affected by a mental health condition or problem relating to stress, which equates to 70 million lost working days a year.”
: “We should think of our mental health in the same way we do our physical health. We would take time off from work to recover from a physical illness or injury to enable us to come back to work ‘fighting fit’, it therefore stands to reason that we would do the same if we need to recoup from a mental illness or injury. After all it is no great secret that when we are enjoying good mental health, that we feel a sense of purpose, we have energy to do things, can face challenges more easily and bring 100% of ourselves to work.”