Reality TV Claims 11 Lives
Shows can be detrimental to mental health: experts
By Matt Cantor,  Newser User
Posted Jun 2, 2009 10:48 AM CDT
Jo O'Meara, who tried to kill herself, was accused of being a "bully and a racist" and said she got death threats after being on the UK's "Celebrity Big Brother."   (Getty Images)
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(Newser) – It's a very good thing Susan Boyle went straight to the hospital post-reality TV loss, reports the Wrap: Reality shows have taken a fatal toll on at least 11 participants, ranging from a deputy district attorney to a boxer to a former child actor; two more have attempted to end their lives. Mental health experts say that reality shows can have a long-lasting detrimental effect on their cast members—winners and losers alike.

A few of the victims:

  • Boxer Najai Turpin shot himself a few weeks before he was set to fight on The Contender.
  • The producer of the unsold Vegas Elvis jumped off a building after filming; the show actually promoted the suicide in a press release.
  • Simon Foster killed himself after appearing on Britain’s Wife Swap, where he became a “laughingstock” because his wife was dating a woman.
  • James Scott Terrill shot himself at the cemetery where his father was buried after appearing on Supernanny.
  • Paula Goodspeed overdosed on prescription drugs in front of Paula Abdul’s home after being rejected from American Idol.