When Jonny Benjamin attempted to take his own life back in 2008 by way of leaping off the Waterloo Bridge in London, U.K, he never expected a complete stranger to come to his aid and coax him out of his desperate situation.
Only 20-years-old at the time, Benjamin had recently been diagnosed with schizophrenia and felt he had hit “rock bottom” before the unknown passerby came to his aid and intervened. To attempt to track down the man who rescued him, Jonny began the FindMike campaign in 2014. The search then went viral, and the man was later identified as Neil Laybourn.
Kate Middleton, who has been a steady advocate for supporting those with mental health issues and for promoting more government funding towards facilities which seek to assist those struggling, will chat with the two men at the very facility where Jonny was treated after he attempted to take his own life.
Good place to start is our education system. Why is mental health not within our curriculum but physical health is? https://t.co/6dALIii9ef
— Jonny Benjamin (@MrJonnyBenjamin) February 29, 2016
Middleton and her husband, Prince William, will speak at London’s St. Thomas’ Hospital. As Express UK shares, the Duke and Duchess see the dire need to reach out more to adults, specifically males suffering from conditions of mental health.
“[Will and Kate]want to highlights efforts to prevent young men in particular committing suicide and help comfort those who are bereaved after people take their own lives. They have been promoting mental health issues for some time and on March 10 will carry out private and public engagements in London to highlight the help available for those who threaten to take their own lives.”
Since the campaign to find Neil went viral in 2014, a documentary has been made about Benjamin and his experience prior to the incident as well as following the incident. He attends screenings of the film regularly with young people to share about his experience and to encourage discussions related to mental health issues.
Express notes the Duke and Duchess’ plans following the visit to the hospital.
“After the visit to St Thomas’s, the Cambridges will join 20 young people at Kensington Palace to watch the documentary, and the campaigner and his saviour will lead a discussion. Following the session, William and Kate will join a private meeting with a group bereaved in various ways by suicide, to discuss their experiences and the support they have received since.”
The event will clearly be very near and dear to Kate and William’s heart, especially considering that a young man, who suffered from mental illness, killed himself outside of their Kensington Palace home last month. The incident followed Kate Middleton addressing the importance of supporting children with their emotional stability so that they grow up to be healthy-minded adults.
SheKnows.com shares the words that Kate spoke in support of Children’s Mental Health week, last month.
“Every child deserves to grow up feeling confident that they won’t fall at the first hurdle, that they cope with life’s setbacks. This resilience — our ability to deal with stressful situations — is something we begin to learn in childhood, as we respond to each challenge and problem life presents. Many of us are incredibly fortunate that the issues we face in childhood are ones we can cope with and learn from.”
Her words were poignant and pertinent for the cause, however, the tragedy involving the man taking his own life demonstrates that there needs to be more support for adults suffering from mental health conditions. Jonny Benjamin has made a triumph out of his own tragedy and is a beacon to those young adults who may be struggling with a mental condition that there is hope.
[Photo by Andrew Milligan – WPA Pool/Getty Images]