Contestants may not know what they are getting into when they sign up to participate in a reality show. If people need to be shut up in a house away from the outside world like in “Big Brother,” competing for the affection of a male suitor in “The Bachelor,” or scrounging for food after plotting against each other on “Survivor,” what about their mental health? It is important to know that reality TV shows have therapists on set to protect the mental health of all those involved on-camera.
How is Mental Health Treated on The Bachelor and The Bachelorette?
On “The Bachelor” and “The Bachelorette,” a therapist is on-call for any of the female contestants’ needs. After they are eliminated, they are to meet with their therapist. The in-house psychologist from 2002-2017, Dr. Catherine Selden, would review the potential contestants’ psychological evaluations during the casting process. Season 14 contestant Rozlyn Papa on “The Bachelor” was asked by Selden if she had a history of mental illness and Papa revealed that she had an ongoing struggle with depression. Looking back, Papa feels like she should not have been selected to be cast for the show and to be used as onscreen drama.
How is Mental Health Treated on Big Brother?
“Big Brother” also has a 24/7 therapist for these housemates who have to stay in a house for 90 days with only each other for company. Evicted housemates meet with a therapist who screens the contestants for psychological issues before they are cast. In-house therapist for the show, Dr. Sarah Angel, screens before casting to see if any personality traits like anxiety or depression can be made worse under the show’s challenging circumstances and how their coping skills are.
What Happens to Contestants When the Cameras Are Off?
For the reality show “Hoarders,” the therapy organizer gets in touch with the contestants days after the cameras leave as it can be traumatic once the show airs. More than half of the contestants had not chosen therapy, as no one can be forced. If they continue to see a therapist, it would be encouraged. Production would pay for up to three counseling sessions once the show is done filming. It is important that these therapists are here on-set with these contestants as they can prevent a tragedy from occurring as a result of being on these reality shows.
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