Mental health campaigner visits City and Islington for documentary screening and Q&A18 October 2016
City and Islington College was delighted to welcome mental health campaigner, author and vlogger Jonny Benjamin to its Sixth Form College for a screening of his documentary 'A Stranger on the Bridge' followed by a Q and A with students.
Jonny came to public attention in 2014 after he embarked on a campaign to track down the passer-by he believed to be named Mike to thank him personally for stopping him from throwing himself off Waterloo Bridge in January 2008.
Jonny had just been admitted to hospital and diagnosed with schizoaffective disorder, a combination of schizophrenia and depression. Struggling to come to terms with his diagnosis he felt he could no longer bear to be alive. He ran away from the hospital intending to take his life by jumping off Waterloo Bridge.
The “Finding Mike” campaign became a global phenomenon and eventually led Mr Benjamin to the man who saved his life, a former personal trainer called Neil Laybourn. Millions of people shared the story online and the hashtag "FindMike" trended in the United Kingdom, South Africa, Australia, and Canada. Eventually, Neil's girlfriend saw the plea on Facebook and he came forward. Finding Mike: The Stranger on the Bridge, an award-winning documentary which aired on Channel 4, captured the pair’s emotional reunion.
In a Q and A session following the screening, he spoke candidly with Sixth Form students about his experience of living and coping with mental illness and offered some advice to students including finding the ability to talk about their problems and using mindfulness techniques to deal with stress and anxiety.
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