Jonny Benjamin & Neil Laybourn

Jonny Benjamin & Neil Laybourn
Leading Mental Health Campaigners, Ambassadors to Mental Health UK & Founders of Beyond 

Jonny Benjamin and Neil Laybourn are inspirational speakers who have forged reputations as award-winning mental health campaigners. Brought together by an unfortunate event, Jonny and Neil share their experiences and passion for mental health in the hope that the stigma around the subject is broken.

Throughout his life, Jonny Benjamin has struggled with his mental health. Diagnosed with Schizoaffective Disorder, a combination of schizophrenia and bipolar, Jonny spent many occasions in hospital and was often driven to suicidal thoughts. Back in 2008, Jonny made the decision to act on these thoughts, considering taking his own life on Waterloo Bridge in London. Luckily with the kindness of a stranger, later found to be Neil Laybourn, Jonny’s life was saved. Fast forward to 2014 and Jonny became determined to find the man that saved his life on the bridge, launching the #FindMike campaign. The campaign went viral, viewed over 1 million times on social media and caught the attention of celebrities such as Stephen Fry and Boy George.

The campaign was ultimately successful, uniting Jonny and Neil just two weeks after the campaign started. Since meeting, the pair have joined forces as speakers to share their passions for mental health, providing support to those who suffer from mental illness and breaking the stigma surrounding the important subject. Their inspirational story was made into a programme by Channel 4, Stranger on the Bridge, and Jonny authored the book The Stranger on the Bridge: My Journey from Despair to Hope.

Both Jonny and Neil have contributed significantly to raising awareness of mental health and illness. Neil is the founder of the This Can Happen conference, designed to tackle challenges of mental health and provide solutions to workplaces. Jonny and Neil also founded Beyond, a charity focused on helping children with their mental health. Jonny is also the founder of ThinkWell, a programme designed for educational use to help improve and bring awareness to mental health in young people. The pair are also Ambassadors for Mental Health UK, and Jonny is also going to release The Book of Hope: 101 Voices on Overcoming Adversity.

Now booked as mental health speakers for a variety of events, Jonny and Neil are sought to share their inspirational story and to bring awareness to such an important subject. Passionate ambassadors of understanding mental health and illness, the pair are widely regarded as some of the UK’s most influential mental health campaigners and empower others to speak out about their battles with mental health. Having also partnered with the charity Rethink Mental Illness, the pair push the importance of kind words and how simply stopping and talking to someone can in some cases save their life.

Back to top