Roman Kemp has revealed his mother Shirlie has always understood the best way to check in on him, even in his darkest moments.
The presenter, 28, who was diagnosed with depression aged 15, says Shirlie knew the ‘right time’ to approach him and have open conversations about his mental health.
Roman, son of singer Shirlie and DJ Martin Kemp, said: ‘Sitting face-to-face can feel awkward, so the trick that my mum used, from when I was really little, was to put me in the car’
Special bond: Roman Kemp has revealed his mother Shirlie has always understood the best way to check in on him, even in his darkest moments
He continued: ‘She used to do it all the time, she’d wait to talk to me and just knew when was the right time.
‘She’d think, OK, he’s been a bit happier today, maybe I’ll slowly try to bring this conversation up.’
He explained that his mother was tough on him as a child about being open and honest, which has had a positive impact on him to this day.
He said: ‘She’s always been that way, ever since I was a kid. She came with me to the doctors that first time when I told them, ‘I’m feeling down’. That mentality of making sure you keep up with how you’re feeling and looking after yourself has always stayed with me.’
Opening up: The presenter, 28, who was diagnosed with depression aged 15, says Shirlie knew the ‘right time’ to approach him and have open conversations about his mental health
Roman recently told how he heard ‘loads of voices’ and couldn’t stop crying when he contemplated taking his own life in 2019.
He had a candid discussion about mental health and said he ‘couldn’t stop worrying about everything’ during that period of his life.
Speaking on Steven Bartlett’s Diary Of A CEO podcast, Roman said he contemplated jumping in front of a train after he came off antidepressants.
Roman (right), son of singer Shirlie (left) and DJ Martin Kemp (middle), said: ‘Sitting face-to-face can feel awkward, so the trick that my mum used, from when I was really little, was to put me in the car’
He said: ‘When you’re in that zone, in an absolute spiral, everything goes into a blur. All I know I was in my house sat in my pants and I couldn’t stop crying.
‘I couldn’t stop worrying about everything. My head was going like a whirlwind. I was worrying about stuff that wasn’t even logical.
‘I can’t describe what my brain was telling me. Anything that could have been a problem in my head, was a problem.
‘You’re thinking you look bad, you’ve not done this, your tax bill, are you ever going to do this… loads of voices.
He continued: ‘She used to do it all the time, she’d wait to talk to me and just knew when was the right time’
‘At that point I thought, ‘I don’t know what to do’. The only thing I could think of was, ‘OK, I’ll take my own life. That’s the only way to stop this.’
Roman said his mother Shirlie happened to call him at this time and kept him on the phone until she was able to get home.
He said: ‘My mum called me. She kept me on the phone for about an hour. In my head I was like, ‘I’ll just go to the train station and jump in front of a train.’
‘That’s honestly what went through my head. My mum got there within an hour. It’s a strange place to be. They call it a mental breakdown for a reason. Those moments are so intense that your mind implodes.’
Much-loved: Roman said he never thought suicide would touch his or his loved ones’ lives, and called on the government to do more to help
Speaking further about suicidal ideation, Roman said: ‘The problem is no matter what pain you’re going through in your head or sadness, you don’t get rid of that by taking your own life.
‘All you are doing is, you are transferring it to everyone around you.’
Roman’s best friend Joe, who had been a well-loved producer at Global radio for nine years, suddenly died in August 2020.
In March last year, Roman fronted a BBC documentary called Our Silent Emergency about male suicide and mental health.
The broadcaster presented the one-off special in a bid to ‘show that there are ways to reach those who are suffering’ following Joe’s death.
Roman, who has suffered with depression since he was 15, reflected on his mental health with mother on the show.
And the star, who is a patron of Joe’s Buddy Line, said he never thought suicide would touch his or his loved ones’ lives, and called on the government to do more to help.
Speaking previously on Steph’s Packed Lunch on Channel 4, he said: ‘I wish I knew nothing about suicide, I wish it was not part of my world, I wish I didn’t know anyone.
‘I’m sure it’s the same for Joe’s family… It’s the biggest killer in men under 40 so how come people aren’t talking about it? How come it’s not being taught in schools at a young age?
‘I never like to get political but the ignorance of the government on it is unbelievable and the stats show that… I’m sure there’s a lot of schoolteachers that might see this chat and will agree that not enough is being done to help pupils in school.’
If you have been affected by this story, you can call the Samaritans on 116 123 or visit www.samaritans.org.
Important: In March last year, Roman fronted a BBC documentary called Our Silent Emergency about male mental health
Published by Associated Newspapers Ltd
Part of the Daily Mail, The Mail on Sunday & Metro Media Group