Stranger on the Bridge: with Mental Health Campaigner Jonny Benjamin MBE

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OA4/01 - Oastler Building

The University of Huddersfield

Queensgate

Huddersfield

HD1 3DH

United Kingdom

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Award winning mental health campaigner, author and film producer, Jonny Benjamin MBE will share his story of how a passing stranger stopped him from taking his own life in 2008.

The Stranger on the Bridge, which was made into a book and a documentary film, tells the story of how, having been recently diagnosed with Schizoaffective Disorder, Jonny stood on London’s Waterloo Bridge and prepared to take his own life. That was until a stranger walking across the bridge talked Jonny down from the edge. With the support of the charity Rethink Mental Illness, Jonny launched the #FindMike campaign, to track the stranger down. The campaign reached over 300 million people worldwide and eventually led him to Neil Laybourn - the man who saved Jonny’s life.

Since such a dark period of his life, Jonny has invested his time into improving the mental health of others. As a mental health speaker, he is dedicated to spreading a message of awareness, understanding and acceptance for not just sufferers, but those around them too. Partnered with the charity Rethink Mental Illness, he raises awareness of the power of words, and how stopping and talking to people about their problems could, in some cases, save their lives. Jonny later quoted that; “I wanted to let people know that it’s ok to have suicidal thoughts and feelings. I also hoped to show people that through talking about it, and by having someone else listen, it is possible to overcome the darkness that overwhelms a person when they feel helpless”.

Additionally, Jonny’s vlogs of his mental health journey help to destigmatize mental health illnesses. Jonny is a passionate advocate for talking about people’s struggles, having published a number of poems and memoirs of his experience – one quote states that “I know that a lot of people are reluctant to get help, and a lot of that is because of stigma. But the only way we’ll get rid of stigma is if we are more open and talk about mental illness“. In his public speeches, he continues this passion, normalising common disorders like depression and anxiety, as well as motivating others to seek support.

Date and Time

Location

OA4/01 - Oastler Building

The University of Huddersfield

Queensgate

Huddersfield

HD1 3DH

United Kingdom

View Map

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