Our Silent Emergency BBC - Review
Five Stars *****
This documentary was hosted by Roman Kemp who is a regular DJ on Capital FM. Sadly the inspiration behind the documentary was his friend Joe Lyons who he lost to suicide last year.
Just like many suicides, one of the themes of this very honest documentary was how there was no signs of danger beforehand. Many of the people who are left coming to terms with a death of this nature are left with many questions. Also stress, as Kemp brilliantly elucidates in this one hour documentary.
Crisis Conciousness & Spiritual Emergency.
When I explain suicide in the Learning to Exhale mindfulness training course I speak of two things - Crisis Consciousness & Spiritual Emergency.
People are very shocked to learn that people can descend into a suicidal state very quickly. Studies have shown ten minutes in fact. Trouble is, and perhaps this may offer some comfort to people left bereaved, is that research now tells us that if the suicidal thought arises in someones mind, the more they try and push it out the stronger it gets.
People will enter into a crisis consciousness or spiritual emergency in their lifetime at some point. This will be due to trauma, divorce, redundancy, post natal depression, workplace bullying - you name it. Calling what Peter is going through a spiritual emergency rather than a psychotic episode or Anna being in crisis consciousness is far kinder than dry medical descriptions like post natal depression.
The terms also garner more compassion and self- compassion.
In order to survive, the ample soul needs refreshments and reminders daily of its right to be and to be wherever it finds itself.
The director of Kemp's documentary 'Our Silent Emergency', Josh Allott deserves praise for how he has handled such a powerful subject that affects the lives of so many people. From how Kemp was searingly honest in this documentary film in a very deep and personal way, one can see that director Allott must have built up a deep trust over many months with his subject and has proven this with the final edit.
Kemp's main worry with the project was giving an explanation of how marvellous his friend Joe was and living up to responsibility. How confusing it was that he saw no signs leading up to the loss and that Joe never said anything was wrong prior to his suicide.
The result of the whole work for Kemp and Allott is a beautiful requiem for Joe.
One very moving part of the documentary is when Kemp speaks of when he was told of Joe's death and how three minutes was so significant. Three minutes was all it would have taken for Roman to run to Joe's home from the radio studio. He could have ran to Joe's flat if he was in trouble, as if he could have saved him, if he had known. You can tell from his tears and grief he would have ran like hell if he could have. If he had been given the chance.
This section of the documentary was very moving and Allott documented the trauma of his loss in such a way thousands of people could identify with the loss the Roman was grieving.
This has allowed many thousands of people to identify with Kemp's grief and the hurt of that loss. A purification of sorts for the soul.
Viewers got to see the effects of suicide from a number of perspectives. Three groups of lads were interviewed and you could tell how the loss has made a big impact on them. All three spoke about the lack of warning signs and as a result have bonded more and are checking in with each other.
As a result of the loss part of their response has to become more bonded and also it appears more vulnerable. This theme of vulnerability deserves more ink. Especially how do males become vulnerable with each other about how they are truly feeling. Support groups like Men's Sheds are really crucial. These sheds are now a worldwide movement. Offering moral support to men in difficulty from other men.
Kemp touches on what I call the 'social self' or persona and 'essential self'. People in groups generally socialise, even work and live, in persona. Who they are, like Joe, is behind the social mask. This may go some way to explain why Kemp, even though he revealed his own struggles with mental health, his friend never spoke of his own.
Half ways through the documentary Kemp revealed his own struggles with mental health since he was teen. He is very open about his need for an antidepressant to stabilise his mood. He is not alone as there are one in twenty people taking one in the UK and one in four in Ireland. Kemp also speaks openly about his own suicidal ideation to his mother which must have been hard for both of them.
He achieves two things here, one he sort of breaks the spell of it and hopefully the hold it has on him and secondly demonstrates to thousands of others how to, making them a whole lot safer if they follow his lead and speak to someone who is a soft and supportive place to fall.
This took a lot of courage from Kemp to do and he should be highly commended for doing so. Especially from a young adult whose career is being seen as being 'perfect' in the realm or bardo of social media. Rather than seeing the Wisdom of Imperfection
Kemp's honesty, mask off, is pure perfection and must have been so refreshing, healing and touching for all the millions of people watching.
Hopefully many lives have been saved by the broadcast.
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Bestselling author Ralph Quinlan Forde BSc (Hons) MA is the writer and editor of the Mindful Beauty blog. His first book The Book of Tibetan Medicine went into 11 languages. His second Nutriwine has