Roman Kemp said he told the Princess of Wales he has “realised” that to help people struggling with mental health issues, they are going to have to start “younger” and focus on building friendships.
The radio presenter, 30, previously spoken candidly about his mental health struggles after the death of best friend and Capital FM producer Joe Lyons.
Capital FM’s Kemp, who is the son of Spandau Ballet star Martin and singer Shirlie Kemp, spoke to the princess in the grounds of his parents’ Hertfordshire home.
Kemp told Kate: “The thing that happened to me in losing my best mate to suicide and losing someone that you’re with every single day, I felt like what someone had told me a suicidal person looked like, like what someone that was suffering.
“It was as if someone handed me a paper and said, ‘By the way, everything you thought is a lie and you need to go and tell people that’ and then you had this overwhelming sense of like ‘Oh my god, like, we need to talk about it’.
“And what I found was, I ended up not kind of talking to people about suicide and not talking to people about ‘Oh, this is how you make your mental health better’.
“I started talking to people about friendship and, genuinely that’s the thing that will save lives. This is what always fascinates me boys and guys, especially, we’re so quick to tell one another ‘You should be doing this in the gym’.
“But when it comes to therapy or having certain chats, everyone shies away from it.”
Kate also told Kemp she “loved” his mental health documentary Roman Kemp: Our Silent Emergency, adding it’s “really powerful” that relationships were formed “so strongly” by his conversations in the programme.
During the BBC Three documentary, in 2021, he looked at the mental health crisis affecting young men and said he had considered taking his own life after suffering with depression for more than a decade.
When asked if his views around mental health and suicide have changed, Kemp said: “It’s made me realise that ‘Okay, if we really want to make a difference here, we’re going to have to go younger’.
“That’s why I think the work that you’re doing is fantastic because really that’s who we need to be targeting.”
On Tuesday, the princess launched her Shaping Us initiative, a campaign described as her “life’s work” and aimed at raising the profile of the crucial period of a child’s development, from pregnancy to the age of five.
Kemp has also joined other celebrities endorsing the campaign – which has also drawn support from rapper Professor Green, presenter Fearne Cotton, former The Saturdays singer Rochelle Humes and Lionesses captain Leah Williamson.
The radio DJ added: “Genuinely I always say that the best part of my life is my family, and it has shaped who I am 100%.
“It’s so difficult. I mean, all you have to do is look around especially at the country and see people are not just struggling with raising kids, they’re struggling with just putting a roof above their heads to be able to heat their house. So all of those things can come into play.”
Kate added by her “raising the importance of early childhood”, her campaign is not trying to put “extra pressure on families” but saying they need “support and help reprioritising family life”.
– Anyone who needs support can call Samaritans free of charge on 116 123, email email@example.com, or visit the Samaritans website.