Mental health campaigner Jonny Benjamin was 20 when he was diagnosed with schizoaffective disorder. Despite treatment for his condition, Jonny had lost hope that his life could return to normal, and he tried to take his own life.
A passerby stopped and talked to him – his words of empathy and hope inspired Jonny to change his outlook. Six years on, his life is much better and Jonny wants to find and thank the man he’s named ‘Mike’. He just needs your help to find him.
WE'VE FOUND MIKE! READ THE UPDATE
It was on the 14th of January 2008, at around 10am, that Jonny went to Waterloo Bridge in central London feeling distressed and hopeless. He was approached by a stranger who offered to buy him coffee. “He was very calm and said ‘Please don’t do this... you can get better. Let’s have a coffee and we can talk about this,’” says Jonny. “He reminded me of what people do every day so the normality of it was really inviting.”
Jonny agreed to come with the man, who was in his early twenties and on his way to work. He climbed back over the railings to safety, where police had arrived to look after him. But he never got to know the stranger’s name.
His act of kindness changed my outlook on life and I have thought about him ever since. I want to find this man so I can thank him for what he did. If it wasn’t for him, I probably wouldn’t be here today.
Now Jonny wants to find ‘Mike’ to thank him personally, and is making a film about his search to spread the message of recovery, and give help and hope to others who might be feeling like he was on that day.
Rethink Mental Illness is supporting Jonny’s campaign and you can help by sharing his story on Facebook and Twitter. Or you might remember a conversation you had with a friend or colleague at the time. Maybe you were walking over the bridge that day. You can email us in confidence at email@example.com.
You can watch Jonny’s videos about what it’s like to live with schizoaffective disorder at his YouTube channel.
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