Ruth Davidson to chair ITV mental health advisory group

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Davidson has been open about her own mental health issues

Former Scottish Conservatives leader Ruth Davidson is to chair ITV’s new Mental Health Advisory Group.

The group, created following the deaths of participants on The Jeremy Kyle Show and Love Island, will give practical advice to ITV and STV shows.

Ms Davidson – who is still an MSP – has taken up the unpaid role designed to protect the mental wellbeing of audiences and participants.

She said: “I’m excited to be involved… it’s so important to talk.”

“Television can have a huge impact on people’s lives and on the life of the nation,” added Ms Davidson, a former BBC journalist.

“Creating a culture which supports the mental health of one another is so important and ITV and STV’s position means they can make a real difference in working towards this goal.

“I look forward to working with ITV and STV to make a genuine difference to people’s lives.”

‘Personal resonance’

“For far too long, Scotland has failed to talk enough about the importance of mental health,” Ms Davidson continued.

“Putting it at the top of the national agenda is something we can all get behind, no matter our political allegiance.

“It is a subject with a particular personal resonance and I hope to champion that cause over the coming months and years.”

Ms Davidson, who quit as Scottish Tory leader in August, has previously spoken about being diagnosed with clinical depression as a teenager.

The advisory group, the start of a five-year partnership with mental health charity Mind, is due to meet four times a year.

ITV chief Carolyn McCall said: “Ruth’s background in media and politics and her courage to talk publicly about mental health in her own life make her absolutely the right person to chair ITV’s mental health advisory group.

“Ruth will bring energy, passion and judgement to a hugely important role.”

ITV cancelled The Jeremy Kyle Show after the death of participant Steve Dymond, who reportedly failed a lie detector test.

The channel said Love Island stars would be offered therapy, social media training and financial advice after the death of former contestant Mike Thalassitis.

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