'Big Brother' criticised over Shahbaz
13:30 24 May 2006
Mental health experts have slammed 'Big Brother' bosses for allowing Shahbaz Chaudhry to enter the house.
The gay Glaswegian - who threatened to kill himself on the show - left the house yesterday (23.05.06).
It followed a string of rows with fellow contestants, who were angry at his attention-seeking antics.
Mental Health Foundation chief executive Dr Andrew McCulloch has now written to Channel 4.
The letter, quoted in Britain's Daily Mirror newspaper, said: "While I can only guess at Shahbaz's condition, we are concerned that vulnerable people apparently continue to be allowed into such a high-pressured environment.
"This kind of programming can make individuals who are distressed a laughing stock. This will only feed the discrimination that already impacts heavily on people suffering from mental illness."
He added: "It is disappointing that Channel 4 seems to have little regard for vulnerable contestants in the 'Big Brother' house."
A spokesman for the Samaritans refused to comment on Shahbaz but said: "It was inappropriate to use someone who may be psychologically unwell as a form of entertainment."
A 'Big Brother' spokesman confirmed contestants have access to psychologists.
He added: "Shahbaz admitted he would have never seriously taken his own life. He said it was 'just theatre to entertain the nation'."
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