Roman Kemp shares about living with depression and why we need to be able to say the word suicide, as he continues his journey to break the stigma surrounding mental health
Finding the courage to admit “I’m not okay” can be one of the most important steps in dealing with depression. It is also often one of the most difficult.
Luckily for Roman Kemp, 29, his mother, Shirlie Holliman, knows how to help him talk, even in his darkest moments.
FM Capital’s DJ, who was diagnosed with depression at the age of 15, said Shirlie has perfected the art of waiting for the right moment to bring up sensitive topics with her teenage son, using Use trips between school, clubs, or friends’ houses as a quiet moment to check in.
Roman, son of singer Pepsi & Shirlie and Spandau Ballet star Martin, explains: “Sitting facing each other can feel awkward, so the trick my mom used, since I was a kid, was this put me in the car. Kemp.
“She used to do it all the time, she would wait to talk to me and just know when the time is right.
“She’ll think, ‘Okay, he’s a little happier today, maybe I’ll slowly try to recount this conversation.’”
Roman said Shirlie always encourages him to deal with physical and mental health issues. It leaves a lasting impression.
“I’ve always liked to think of myself as a pretty open-minded person because my mother was very hard on me about that sort of thing,” Roman says. .
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“She’s always been like that, ever since I was little. She went with me to the doctor for the first time when I told them, ‘I’m feeling depressed’. The mentality of making sure you keep up with your emotions and take care of yourself is always in me. “
A year after his own crisis, Roman was devastated when his best friend and radio producer Joe Lyons took his own life. Within three months, Roman began filming a BBC documentary, Our Silent Emergency, aimed at raising awareness about men’s mental health and suicidal behavior.
Now the presenter believes it’s important to break the stigma surrounding suicide. “People, even now, are afraid to use this word. They shy away from it,” he explained. “For example, we have moved forward as a society when it comes to topics like Aids. No one wants to talk about cancer. I remember it was just called ‘big C’.
“It’s the same with suicide, but it’s a real thing and the more we have to face the thought that people are dying every day through completed suicides, that it’s a real problem, the sooner we can talk about it – and deal with it – the less taboo it is. “
In an effort to encourage men to open up, Roman is running the Power in the Numbers of Nivea campaign. A survey conducted as part of the campaign found that one in three men often feel lonely, 44% admit they have never opened up to someone about their feelings and 35% take the initiative Avoid mental health conversations.
To help combat these unsettling numbers, Strength in Numbers encourages men to ask themselves: “How are you? Beyond 10?” This method, created by the mental fitness community Talk Club, is designed to help men become more aware of their emotions and use tools like mindfulness and exercise. to improve their mood.
“The simple things always work the best, especially for mental health,” says Roman. “The most important thing you can do is ask someone how they are, and I think sometimes people forget to ask themselves.
“Don’t get me wrong, it can be very difficult because everyone has their own coping mechanisms to avoid a real answer, but it’s important to double-check yourself every now and then. .”
Roman used his mother’s “moving” technique to help others. “I have had a lot of conversations with friends about their mental health in the car.
“They don’t face me and can hide behind that,” he explains. “Seems like it always works.”
He also urged young children to receive a good emotional education to prevent future problems.
“We had a bit of a head start but it didn’t change overnight,” he said.
“The only way for things to change is to reach the next generation as soon as possible. That way, they know what they will face when they get older. They know how to handle it. They know who they can go to.”
For Roman, antidepressants have helped keep him growing since he was 15 years old. “I have to make sure I’m using my tablets the way they should be, in the right dosage. I try to make sure I’m getting enough sleep, spending time with friends, having reasonable conversations, and not always working. That is important to me.”
Roman admits being “that mental health guy was overwhelming”. “I would be lying if I said it wasn’t much, but I know
that’s what I’ve been interested in when making documentaries – it’s more important than anything.
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“If I can show someone that I can talk, that would be great. I’m proud of it “.
To learn more about the Strength in Numbers campaign, visit nivea.co.uk/strengthinnumbers
*If you are struggling with mental health you can speak to a trained counselor from mental health charity Mind on 0300 123 3393 or email email@example.com
https://www.mirror.co.uk/3am/celebrity-news/roman-kemp-says-mum-shirlie-27342035 Roman Kemp says mother Shirlie 'taught me how to talk about my battle with depression'