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BPS calls for better psychological support for reality TV show contestants

31 May 2019

Better psychological support for people taking part in reality TV programmes is urgently needed.

We have today launched new guidelines for production companies following the deaths of a contestant from the Jeremy Kyle show and two contestants on Love Island, which begins its new run on Monday.

The document Psychology and Media Productions: Guidance for commissioners and producers, clearly sets out the practical and psychological support that should be standard for all members of the public taking part in any media productions.

Produced by our Media Ethics Advisory Group, the guidance is already proving its worth in helping production companies to safeguard the mental health of vulnerable participants.

Chair of the group John Oates said:

"Psychological research shows how broadcast media can have powerful roles in influencing public attitudes, beliefs and behaviour.

This new guide has been developed after extensive consultation and piloting across the broadcast industry and aims to provide best practice for commissioners and producers."

BPS chief executive Sarb Bajwa said better psychological support for people taking part in reality TV programmes should be put in place as a matter of urgency:

"Psychologists have an important role to play in supporting production companies and participants and we believe this new guide will help to strengthen the current framework."

The BPS regularly advises productions on protecting participants. Some of the high profile programmes members have worked on include Child of Our Time, Castaway 2000 and Horizon: Rory Bremner: ADHD and Me.

The group has welcomed the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport select committee inquiry into reality TV, and our members are offering expert support and input.

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