Author Topic: A man tries to #FindMike, a stranger who convinced him not to end his life in 08  (Read 1777 times)

Offline Aloysius J. Gleek

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Sometimes (I Have Schizophrenia)
All Of The Time (I'm Just Human)


Jonny Benjamin talks about life with schizophrenia and depression. After a terrifying breakdown at university, Jonny got help and now leads a normal life. He campaigns to raise awareness about mental health and was the star of the BBC Three documentary Failed by the NHS.


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http://www.rethink.org/get-involved/campaigns/found-mike



When mental health campaigner Jonny Benjamin was 20, he was diagnosed with schizoaffective disorder.

Despite treatment, Jonny had lost hope that his life could return to normal, and he tried to take his own life.

He was stopped by the kindness of a stranger.

Just over two weeks ago – six years on – Jonny set out to find the man he named 'Mike', launching a campaign with the help of Rethink Mental Illness.

The appeal went out on Facebook and Twitter, and Jonny gave numerous TV, radio and newspaper interviews. The campaign soon went viral, with the hashtag #findmike trending in the UK and countries as far afield as Canada, South Africa and Australia, and the story was widely shared.

One of the people to see the appeal was Neil Laybourn from Surrey, whose fiancé saw the campaign on Facebook and instantly recognised the story. Neil got in touch.

Jonny and 31-year-old Neil finally met during an emotional reunion two days ago.

The personal trainer says he knew immediately that he was the stranger Jonny was looking for.

“I was so pleased to see how well Jonny was doing, I had thought about him over the years and had always hoped he was ok, he said."

“When we met, it was clear how much that encounter on the bridge meant to Jonny, he told me it was a pivotal moment in his life – which was great to hear.

"I didn’t feel it was that big a deal, I did what anyone would do. I wasn’t trying to fix his problems that day, I just listened.

“I can honestly say, hand on heart that Jonny is one of the nicest people I have ever met, he’s a great bloke and it’s brilliant to see him smiling again. We’ll definitely stay in touch.”

Jonny added: “I feel like I’ve won the lottery – I’m totally elated. It means the world to me to finally have the opportunity to say thank you.

“That day on the bridge my life hit rock bottom, but meeting Neil, I felt so happy, it couldn’t be more of a contrast. It’s as though I’ve come full circle and that chapter of my life has now closed. He’s such a warm, genuine person – everyone should have a friend like Neil.”

If you want to help Rethink Mental Illness support people like Jonny Benjamin, please consider making a donation.

Jonny is making a documentary about his search, expected to be ready this spring. Keep up to date with developments on our Facebook Page.






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« Last Edit: January 31, 2014, 07:35:26 pm by Aloysius J. Gleek »
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