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March 18, 2019updated 30 Sep 2022 7:31am

The Sun launches mental health campaign aimed at younger readers after Love Island contestant death

By James Walker

The Sun has launched a campaign aimed at encouraging its younger readers to talk to people about their mental health following the death of former Love Island contestant Mike Thalassitis.

The Let’s Talk campaign has been backed by the suicide prevention charity Papyrus and the UK’s three major political parties.

Suicide prevention minister Jackie Doyle-Price has also come out in support of the campaign, which was launched after Thalassitis was found dead in north London last week. The TV star’s story is on today’s Sun front page.

Doyle-Price said: “Every death by suicide is preventable. Many organisations can play their part and I am really pleased that The Sun is launching this campaign.

“Suicide happens when people feel they can’t cope anymore. No one should feel like they can’t ask for help.”

She also pushed for TV companies to provide more support to reality show contestants after they’ve left a programme.  

Papyrus director Ged Flynn said: “We need to help children and young people know that all human beings struggle.

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“We can’t protect them from pain, but by having open conversations, we can make sure they know they have choices.”

Suicide is the leading cause of death of people under 35, with more than 1,600 taking their own lives every year.

The latest Office for National Statistics data recorded a total of 5,821 suicides across the UK in 2017.

The Sun was criticised for its 5 March front page report on the suicide of Prodigy frontman Keith Flint, which said his death came after a “devastating split from his wife”.

Press Gazette understands that press regulator the Independent Press Standards Organisation has received six complaints about the story.

In its reporting guidelines for celebrity suicides, mental health charity Samaritans’ ask outlets to avoid offering “simplistic explanations” or any speculation around the causes behind them.

However, the IPSO Editors’ Code of Practice guidelines on reporting suicides state only that “care should be taken to avoid excessive detail on the method used”. The Sun is a member of IPSO.

Picture: The Sun

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