Jonny Benjamin MBE
Jonny Benjamin MBE joined TLC Lions to give talks and presents on the topic of mental health to groups and organisations all around the UK and internationally. Jonny has a passion for supporting younger people.
As an award-winning mental health campaigner – his journey began in 2008 when Neil Laybourn talked Jonny out of taking his own life by jumping from the edge of Waterloo Bridge in London. Jonny had just been diagnosed with schizophrenia and depression and was extremely unwell.
Neil’s interaction saved his life but the two were soon separated when the police intervened and took Jonny away to be sectioned. 6 years later, in 2014, Jonny launched a campaign on Twitter to find and thank the man who had stopped him taking his own life – #FindMike – it became a global news campaign that reached over 300 million people around the world and was successful in reuniting the 2 strangers within a matter of weeks from the campaign being launched.
What followed was an emotional meeting and the beginning of a journey where both men united to campaign around the issues of both mental health and suicide, which is now the biggest killer of men under 45 in the UK.
The story of their journey was made into a TV documentary, The Stranger on the Bridge, which aired on Channel 4 in 2015 and had a meaningful impact on millions of viewers. The documentary has won a number of awards and is currently being aired internationally. After a private meeting with Prince William and the Duchess of Cambridge in March 2016, the pair were invited by the Royal Foundation to represent the ‘Heads Together’ charity in running for the 2017 London Marathon.
– Mental Health
– The Journey to Recovery
– Suicide Prevention
– LGBT & Faith
“Many thanks for opening up and sharing your story with us yesterday. I had a lot of feedback afterwards about just how much people were moved and felt really compelled to think more deeply about what it is really like for those in distress. I’m sure that your account will continue to resonate and affect people for a very long time.”
-University of Westminster
“The way you open up and share your journey while being brave enough to be honest and vulnerable is a refreshing and inspiring way to talk about your experience. Especially amongst men.”
“Awesome, courageous, inspiring. The candid sharing of experiences with others provides a wonderful opportunity to de-stigmatise mental health and give hope to others. It possessed a true realness-not a glossy picture but included the reality of mental illness and the belief that is a way back and a way forward.”
-CHUMS Health Service