Jonny Benjamin

MENTAL HEALTH CAMPAIGNER WHO LAUNCHED A SOCIAL MEDIA CAMPAIGN CALLED 'FIND MIKE' TO SEARCH FOR A STRANGER WHO HAD TALKED HIM OUT OF TAKING HIS OWN LIFE

Award winning media influencer and mental health campaigner, Jonny Benjamin MBE is best known for his campaign Find Mike, which searched for the stranger who stopped Jonny from committing suicide in 2008. 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. He travels to business conferences and school events, to promote the importance of wellbeing.

Jonny has been struggling with mental health disorders since the age of 10, when he was diagnosed with auditory hallucinations. As a teenager, he was later diagnosed with depression, and then schizoaffective disorder, which can be categorised as a combination of schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. Whilst at his lowest point, Jonny believed to be in a version of The Truman Show, convinced that he was being used as entertainment in a reality show for millions of viewers. When the hallucinations became too much to bear, he escaped from the hospital with the intention of taking his own life. However, a passing stranger talked him out of the act.

That person was Neil Laybourn, who was found after a viral campaign entitled Find Mike reached Neil. The social media mission garnered a wealth of media coverage, with Jonny desperate to find and thank the man who essentially saved his life. Partnered with the charity Rethink Mental Illness, he raised 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.

To book Jonny Benjamin as the health speaker for your corporate event, function or conference, simply contact the Champions Speakers agency by emailing agent@championsukplc.com or by calling a booking agent directly on 0207 1010 553.