Roman Kemp: Our Silent Emergency – How will this get men talking?

Trigger Warning: This post contains a discussion of suicide.

The emergency is real and it is taking lives. That is the message Roman Kemp wants to portray as he attempts to search for the warning signs of his best friend’s suicide in this new BBC Three documentary.

In the trailer, Kemp battles through tears to ask the difficult questions. Why didn’t my friend confide in me? How didn’t I see his pain? Your heartbreaks for pain that he carries.

In the trailer, he talks to his friend, Joe Lyons’ family. His mother’s anguish is real as she recalls how much she misses Lyons asking her what is for dinner. The bravery of Lyons’ mum is so stark as she states that: “It’s very hard if they want to end their pain. It means that you carry that pain for them for the rest of your life”. She concludes with a plea to people who are suffering: “Please stay, don’t go.”

An increasing number of young men are taking their lives and in their later years suicide still remains the biggest killer of men aged 45-49.

BBC Three describe Roman’s documentary journey as ‘a film about Roman’s generation, young men and boys as they become adults, and how he himself could help add to a dialogue that might help those who are struggling in silence.’

Kemp decides not to be another young man suffering in silence and told the i that: ‘Since I’ve been 15 I’ve been on my own mental health journey, which starts with being on antidepressants, and moving through staying on antidepressants into my adult life”.

This statement may shock you, as Kemp from the outside appears to be a vibrant young man full of life. As the son of actor and Spandau Ballet frontman Martin Kemp, and his wife who was one half of WHAM’s backing singers, it would be easy to assume that he hasn’t had to struggle for much. But this assumption can be fatal, and growing up in the spotlight is sure to come with it’s own pressures.

However, Kemp’s struggles may not be circumstantial, the i reported that ‘his mother’s side of the family has a long history of depression, stemming from a chemical imbalance. It is something that Kemp has inherited.’

Roman Kemp may not realise the impact of making this documentary, but this is huge. A young man opening up about taking anti-depressants for the last 13 years, and seeking to find answers.

We know he’ll never get the answers he wants to find but just showing the impact suicide has on families and friends might make people with mental illness on the brink think, ‘maybe I can get help instead?’

Kemp describes making the documentary as a kind of ‘therapy’ for him, which if it gets men talking and provides a kind of catharsis for him, then he’s completed his mission. Roman Kemp, I salute you.

Roman Kemp: Our Silent Emergency airs on BBC Three on Tuesday, 16th March at 9pm.

In an emergency call 999. To contact Samaritans, call 116 123 or visit

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