Love Island winner Jack Fincham has said he was too scared to leave his house and that he thought he was “going mad” while dealing with mental health issues before appearing in the series.
The reality TV star, who won last year’s series of the dating show with girlfriend Dani Dyer, also revealed that he was signed off work because of his depression and anxiety several years ago.
Speaking for the first time about his personal experience of mental health issues, which he says hit him badly between the ages of 19 and 21, Fincham told British GQ magazine that he previously took beta blockers for anxiety, as well as antidepressants.
He said: “It came sort of out of nowhere and I told my mum and stuff and got signed off from work with it.
“I was just scared to go out of the house. I was worried about things that weren’t happening. I thought I was going mad.
“At the start I didn’t want to go to the doctor’s, I was just crying to my mum.”
Fincham, 27, added: “I thought if I said it out loud to a doctor then it would make it real. I didn’t want to believe that this was happening to me – or why it was happening to me.”
The TV personality, who spoke to the publication following the death of former Love Island star Mike Thalassitis, said he has had mental health issues since the age of 13, and has gone through various forms of therapy.
He also said that, since finding fame, he struggles with negative comments on social media, such as people openly criticising him and his appearance.
He said: “And I just think, if your opinion might upset someone, why give it?
“I wouldn’t go up to someone walking down a public road and go ‘You look really rubbish in your outfit today’, and when I upset them, then go ‘Well, I’m entitled to my opinion. It’s a public road.’ I’m not like that.”
Fincham said the fact that someone has been on television “doesn’t mean you’ve become bulletproof”.
He urged people suffering with mental health problems of their own to “speak to somebody close to you”.
“Don’t be embarrassed, don’t dwell on it. Go to somebody close to you and speak to them about it.”
Thalassitis – who appeared in the 2017 series of Love Island – was found dead in a north London park earlier this month. He was 26.
His death has sparked a wider discussion about mental health, particularly when linked to reality TV fame and whether or not those involved are offered adequate aftercare.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock has said he was “moved” by Thalassitis’s death, and that reality shows have a duty of care for contestants after they become famous.
Love Island said it will offer “bespoke training” to all future contestants, with a focus on helping with social media and financial management after they achieve overnight fame on Love Island, which has become a cultural phenomenon attracting millions of viewers each season.