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Why Love Island’s Chris is being praised by mental health charities

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Kayleigh Dray
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A mental health charity has thrown its support behind Love Island’s Chris Hughes after Olivia Attwood was heard warning him not to cry in front of her.

Earlier this week, fans of the ITV2 show saw Attwood become annoyed after her boyfriend went to comfort fellow contestant Tyla Carr – who was devastated over Jonny Mitchell’s exit – instead of her after she was in the bottom four after a public vote.

Blasting him for being “too nice”, she ended their relationship.

“And don’t cry again,” Attwood told him, “because that’s the whole reason we’re in this situation.”



Attwood was referring to Sunday night’s episode (2 July), when Hughes was seen sobbing and unable to speak after she put them on a break.

Viewers were extremely unhappy with the interaction, with many taking to Twitter to criticise Attwood over her comments.

And now Signpost – a mental health charity which provides counselling, coaching, and other support for young people – has come out to support Hughes on social media.

“They say men, younger and older, don’t feel safe to show their emotions,” they wrote.

“Shout out to Chris for being himself and bearing all.”

While there's praise for Attwood’s decision to split with the “nice guy” and make the right decision for her, it goes without saying that she shouldn’t have dumped Hughes for feeling able to express his feelings.

Unlike Hughes, many men feel as if they’re unable to reveal their emotions – and suicide is officially the single biggest killer of men aged between 20 and 49 years old.

By telling men to “man up”, to “stop crying”, to “be a man about it”, we’re helping to perpetuate corrosive, dangerous and outdated gender stereotypes that prevent people from seeking help and, ultimately, destroying them.

It is, quite frankly, language that kills.



Hughes has previously opened up about his own personal battles with mental wellness, revealing on Instagram that he has suffered from anxiety and panic attacks.

Sharing a post for World Mental Health Day in October 2016, Hughes wrote: “Hopefully this may help certain people who’ll relate: It was about May 2013 when I finally overcame anxiety and panic attacks, most sickening months of my life where you never know what you’re gonna do.

“And it wasn’t until my mum knew and I spoke out about it I could sort things out. It hit me again summer just gone but I knew from the breathing techniques, imagery and everything else I was taught, getting over it wasn’t an issue.

“Took time and money but it was the best I ever spent. Can only thank one man for that, David Crees, a cognitive hypnotherapist, and his company Ethical Minds. Don’t hesitate for help when it’s there, that bloke’s a genius.”



Anxiety symptoms are often hard for sufferers to put into words; there is usually a sense of danger or threat, of not being able to cope with what might happen – a “nameless dread” that provokes such physically real symptoms that it can be utterly debilitating for sufferers.

The severity of these symptoms can vary from person to person, and can include:

  • Restlessness
  • A sense of dread
  • Feeling constantly “on edge”
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Irritability
  • Dizziness
  • Tiredness
  • Shortness of breath
  • Nausea
  • Panic attacks
  • Heart palpitations

However, while there is still some stigma around opening up about our emotional wellbeing, experts urge people to seek help when they need it: anxiety, for example, is highly treatable: your GP can offer talking treatments and certain types of medication to help you stay on top of your anxiety.

The charity Mind also provides a number of self-care tips. These include breathing exercises, complementary therapies, and ideas on how best to break the cycle of fear and anxiety.

Visit the website for more advice or, alternatively, contact Anxiety Care UKFearfighter, or No Panic for a wealth of information and support.

Images: Rex Features

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Kayleigh Dray

Kayleigh Dray is editor of Stylist.co.uk, where she chases after rogue apostrophes and specialises in films, comic books, feminism and television. On a weekend, you can usually find her drinking copious amounts of tea and playing boardgames with her friends. 

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