The mother of late Love Island star Sophie Gradon has spoken about the impacts of the loss of her daughter and what more can be done to tackle social media trolling.
Gradon, who starred in the ITV2 reality programme in 2016, took her own life in 2018 aged 32 at her home in Ponteland, Northumberland.
Now, speaking to the Mirror, her mother, Deborah Gradon, has said much more can be done in order to protect people online.
“We’re looking here at the next destructive force within society and the government needs to do more,” she said.
“If a beautiful, clever girl can be destroyed by public humiliation, then anyone can.”
Deborah recalled being shocked by the comments made on social media about her daughter when she was on Love Island.
“One troll posted ‘I hope you get cancer’. Another one said ‘Look at Sophie’s eyelashes. Aren’t they pathetic?’” she said.
“The comments went from one extreme to another but I could see the impact they were having.”
Today, Deborah said she and her family don’t speak about Sophie very often.
“We rarely mention Sophie’s name. You are looking at the person you share your life with and it’s the hardest thing in the world to acknowledge their pain and agony too,” she said.
Deborah went on to reveal how she found out in recent months that she had a brain tumour.
“I was told I had an endocrine tumour in my pituitary gland in my brain. He said it could well have been due to the stress of everything,” she said.
“It’s not cancerous but by the sheer virtue of where it is in my pituitary gland, it is dangerous.
“I get chronic fatigue. I live every day wondering whether I will wake up blind or with a brain bleed because the tumour’s putting pressure on my pituitary.”
Deborah added that she’s waiting to hear about treatment.
For mental health support, you can contact the Mind helpline by calling 0300 123 3393, texting 86463 or emailing [email protected] The helpline is open Monday to Friday from 9am until 6pm, except on bank holidays.