Television and radio presenter Roman Kemp will pay a virtual visit to Edge Hill next month to give a first-hand account of his emotional BBC documentary Our Silent Emergency, which explores the mental health and suicide crisis gripping young men across the UK. 

The recent airing of his documentary moved viewers to tears when Roman reflected on his own mental health journey and the devastating loss of his radio producer best friend Joe Lyons to suicide in August last year. 

Roman is now a patron of the mental health charity Joe’s Buddy Line, which was set up in legacy of his friend Joe. The charity aims to provide emotional and mental health support for school children across England and Wales. 

During a special Edge Hill event to mark Mental Health Awareness Week, Roman will join a line-up of Edge Hill experts for an open and honest conversation about mental health. 

The free event Stepping Up the Fight for Mental Health will take place on Monday 10th May 5pm-6pm and tickets can be booked online. 

Joining Roman on the panel will be Andy Smith, a Professor of Sport and Physical Activity at Edge Hill, who has been at the forefront of ground-breaking research in sport, education and mental health. Prof Smith’s work has helped to inform community and professional sport and health organisations across the country, including influencing the UK Select Committee’s Suicide Prevention report. 

Prof Andy Smith

He will spotlight recent interventions he and other Edge Hill colleagues have worked on, including Rugby League Cares Offload programme, which resulted in 78% of men reporting feeling more aware of how to look after their health and wellbeing, and award-winning mental health programme Tackling the Blues delivered in partnership between Edge Hill University, Everton in the Community and Tate Liverpool to promote young people’s mental health in education through sports, physical activity and the arts.

Other panellists include Olivia Izzo, an Edge Hill student mentor on the Tackling the Blues programme who is encouraging children and young people to open up about their mental health through the arts and sport; and an Offload participant.

Chairing the event will be Mike Salla, Director of Health and Sport at Everton in the Community, the official charity of Everton Football Club. Mike oversees a broad range of mental health specific projects and is leading on the development of The People’s Place; a purpose-built mental health hub adjacent to Goodison Park.

Edge Hill University’s Wellbeing Team is available to support students with their health and wellbeing needs throughout their time at Edge Hill. Members of staff are encouraged to contact the Wellbeing Support Service, who are available to provide wellbeing support during the pandemic, at wellbeingsupportservice@edgehill.ac.uk.

Campus Support are always available out of hours to provide help while on campus and can be reached on 01695 584227.

The Samaritans can be contacted on 116 123 (free from any phone) or you can email jo@samaritans.org. They are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year.