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TV presenters to pass annual 'psych test' before being allowed on air after Caroline Flack's death

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Television presenters will be made to undergo psychological evaluation tests to determine whether they’re fit to go on air following the death of Caroline Flack.  

A source told The Sun hosts and contestants alike in the UK will have to undergo annual ‘psych tests’ ahead of every series or new show to determine whether their mental state is healthy enough to appear on television. 

The test will include a psychometric questionnaire, a session with a counsellor and a background assessment, and comes as part of an ‘enhanced duty of care package’ adopted by broadcasters including ITV and Channel 4. 

Presenters will be marked as red amber or green. If they score ‘red’, they fail and will be unable to continue regardless of how long they’ve been on air – with the source adding that even those with ’30 years in TV’ must adhere to the new rules.

Miss Flack, who had been suffering from depression and panic attacks, was found dead at her London home at the age of 40 earlier this month. 

Television presenters will be made to undergo psychological evaluation tests to determine whether they’re allowed to go on air following the death of Caroline Flack (pictured) 

Miss Flack was found dead at her London home at the age of 40 earlier this month. She hosted reality show Love Island for five seasons before being replaced by Laura Whitmore after an alleged assault on her boyfriend Lewis Burton

The source said: ‘It is now no longer just contestants and non-famous hopefuls going on air who are being monitored.

‘In future, all presenters and TV anchors will be undergoing yearly psych tests ahead of every series or new show.’

The former Love Island presenter had just learned that her assault trial was to go ahead, despite her boyfriend Lewis Burton, 27, telling prosecutors that he had not suffered any significant injury and did not want her to be charged.

Her managers have accused the Crown Prosecution Service of pushing for a ‘show trial’, saying it put enormous pressure on the fragile star. 

The test comes as part of an ‘enhanced wellbeing package’ with ITV and Channel 4 among the broadcasters who have implemented the rule. Flack is pictured hosting the ITV show in 2018

TV psychological tests, used to screen potential reality show contestants to determine whether they can handle fame and public scrutiny, have been commonplace since Big Brother aired on Channel 4 in 2000.  

However the tests, which work in a similar way to the new proposed assessment regime, have only ever been used for those not already in the public eye. 

The news comes after Nadine Dorries, the minister for suicide prevention and mental health, announced an examination into what potential measures the entertainment industry could implement to help celebrities suffering from the ‘psychological effect of reputational damage’.

She said the death of the ‘talented and beautiful’ Miss Flack had ‘rocked the country in a way the deaths of other public figures have not’. 

Nadine Dorries (pictured), the minister for suicide prevention and mental health, will examine what potential measures the entertainment industry could implement to help celebrities suffering from the ‘psychological effect of reputational damage’

Miss Flack was the fourth person with links to Love Island to take their own life. Contestants Sophie Gradon, 32, and Mike Thalassitis, 26, killed themselves after appearing on the show

Miss Dorries said she hoped the probe would establish ‘an awareness of how words really do cost lives’ and show that the responsibility for suicide prevention ‘belongs to every single one of us’.

The minister pledged government funding towards the move and will be inviting TV, press and social media bosses to discussions on the issue. 

Psychiatrists who specialise in suicide prevention and representatives from Ofcom, the broadcast regulator, will also be present.

Miss Dorries said: ‘I have decided it is time for us to look deeper into the psychological effect of reputational damage and what measures the entertainment industry can put into place to protect those who as a result of fame and success, fall victim to loss and grief in a way which can lead to a catastrophic and tragic result.’ 

Earlier this week, Love Island returned to the screens after a two-day break out of respect for its former presenter. Caroline is pictured at the Beauty Awards in 2019 

She expressed a hope that the discussion would lead to a reduction in the number of people taking their own life.

‘We all have a responsibility to keep people safe,’ Miss Dorries said. ‘There is no point in a law dictating to the media, if production companies, online platforms and we in society, don’t play our role too. I hope it will be the first step towards establishing an awareness of how words really do cost lives.’ 

Earlier this week Love Island returned to screens after a two-day break out of respect for its former presenter. The ITV2 show contained details during the ad breaks on how to contact mental health charity Samaritans.

Miss Flack was the third person with links to the show to take their own life. Former contestants Sophie Gradon, 32, and Mike Thalassitis, 26, killed themselves in 2018 and 2019 respectively after appearing on the show. 

Miss Gradon’s boyfriend Aaron Armstrong, 25, took his life weeks after her death. 

For confidential support, log on to samaritans.org or call the Samaritans on 116123. 

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