The Voice’s Jade MayJean: Reality TV stars need more support, says Ipswich singer
A top Ipswich singer who shot to fame on The Voice has said it is “important” to consider the welfare of reality TV contestants once they leave the show.
Jade MayJean rose to nationwide fame on the BBC singing contest in 2014, joining Kylie Minogue's team but just missing out on a place in her final three.
Since then Jade has gone on to build a hugely successful career as a regular on the gig circuit in Suffolk and beyond, as well as releasing her own album, 20Sixty, in 2018.
However she has spoken openly of the challenges she faced once leaving the show, saying: 'People assume that because you've been on TV you've made it and you don't need help afterwards.'
The 27-year-old, who is due to release her second album next year, praised the welfare support while she was on The Voice - saying she would get weekly calls to check how she was and whether she was ready for next week.
However she said once she was eliminated: 'Then it was nothing. As soon as I came out, that's it completely.
'I appreciate there's a lot of people to consider and there's not a lot of time in the day, but I do think it's important. I know a few contestants who struggle today from it.
'If you can't pick yourself up easily, it's hard. Some people really struggled and couldn't cope with the comedown.'
A BBC spokesman said that 'planning around care for members of the public taking part in our programmes is always a core part of our production process' and that there are editorial guidelines to protect vulnerable contestants.
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Its plans, which cover from initial casting to transmission and afterwards, include support such as meetings with psychologists and mental health first aiders on set - as well as advice on how to handle social media and press coverage.
The spokesman added: 'We have our own safeguarding team of health and wellbeing professionals to give support and we also carry out training for our staff to raise awareness of mental health issues of contributors.
'We work with indies to make sure best practice is applied across their programmes.
'We continue to work with independent producers, external specialists and others in the industry to develop best practice in this area.'
The welfare of former reality show guests has been a much-debated topic recently, particularly since the deaths of Love Island stars Mike Thalassitis and Sophie Gradon.
West Suffolk MP and health secretary Matt Hancock has been one of those to speak out and say that reality television stars need help to deal with their new-found fame.
Jade, who still lives in Ipswich, says she was fortunate enough to have a generally good press throughout the show - unlike some reality TV contestants, who are suddenly faced with very public criticism.
While she experienced some online trolls - unidentifiable people who hurl abuse on social media - she said: 'I chose the option not to bite back.
'I've been brought up just to be strong on things like that and understand that not everyone is going to like you.
'A lot of the time with trolls, if you look at their profiles there's no picture and just someone who wants to comment to make themselves feel better.
'It still doesn't affect me but a lot of people are affected by it.'
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