Love Island’s Kem Cetinay Opens Up About His Experience With Depression

As part of Mental Health Awareness Day, the Love Island winner spoke out about his own experiences in the hope of helping others...

Love Island‘s Kem Cetinay has been opening up about his personal experience with depression, in order to highlight the importance of World Mental Health Day.

In an exclusive chat with The Sun, the 21-year-old explained that his mental health began to change at the age of fourteen, following an operation on his tonsils that went wrong, leaving him with kidney failure.

As a result, the reality star said: ‘I started becoming obsessive about my mum, I wouldn’t leave her side.’

The two most important women in my life❤️

A post shared by Kem (@kemcetinay) on

Figen Cetinay, who was present for the interview, added that ‘overnight he became a recluse’, deciding not to go to school.

Kem explained: ‘My confidence dropped, I couldn’t get on trains. It was the first time I’d had a panic attack, I didn’t know what it was.’

He continued: ‘After the operation — I’d lost so much weight — my football started going downhill so I lost all my confidence.

‘I thought everyone was looking at me and it just escalated. I refused to go out to public places.

‘I started having to leave lessons because I felt like I was having a panic attack.

‘Then it started going from once a week to every day, then I started to refuse to go to school. It was then they decided they wanted me to see someone.’

Kem met girlfriend Amber on Love Island this summer

According to The Sun, Kem was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder and depression. As a result, he was prescribed strong anti-depressants, which he explained were ‘scary’ for him at the time.

‘There was a point in the three-year spell I wasn’t really living, I wasn’t doing anything. I was completely depressed,’ he said.

Seeking the help and support he needed, Kem had counselling and embarked on a nine-week course to become a barber.

Kem Love Island

Recalling his road to recovery, the LI winner said: ‘We went to eight therapists and it wasn’t working. Then we saw this one lady and it just turned.

‘She gave me so many techniques to talk to people and constantly meditate.

‘It was the hardest nine-months of my life. I had loads of breathing exercises that I was doing that would always calm me down.’

This is the first time that Kem has spoken publicly about his experience. In order to try and help others who might be going through something similar themselves, he is planning to launch an awareness campaign with Childline.



His best friend Chris Hughes, who he met on the ITV2 reality show this summer, has also been championing the importance of talking about mental health this week.

In order to raise awareness for CALM – a male suicide prevention charity for which Chris is now an Ambassador – and to shed light on the tragic statistic that 84% of UK men say they bottle up their emotions, Chris has fronted a new campaign.

Posting a video to Instagram, the reality star explained: ‘L’Eau de Chris? No, ludicrous. It’s ludicrous that men bottle up their emotions every single day. And ludicrous that suicide is the biggest killer of young men in the UK. We live in a culture that encourages men to bottle up rather than open up. That’s why I’m proud to have worked with @topman and @calmzone to change that. However you open up this #WorldMentalHealthDay, just #DontBottleItUp [sic]’.

We applaud them both for speaking out.

And hope that it will help others on their own journeys.