From a chance meeting on Waterloo Bridge to influential Mental Health advocacy
It was a normal day in central London. Commuters were hurrying across Waterloo Bridge, heads down and thoughts elsewhere. Tourists admired stunning cityscapes and posed for pictures against the iconic backdrop. People crossed the bridge in their thousands. But for one man it was not a normal day. It was the day that would be his last on Earth. Or so he believed. As Jonny Benjamin sat on the edge of the bridge, contemplating taking his own life, fate intervened. Neil Laybourn, a complete stranger, was struck by the bleak intensity of Jonny’s appearance as he walked past him. Unlike any other passer-by, something inside Neil compelled him to stop and he attempted to talk Jonny down. Neil’s compassion broke Jonny’s will, and he persuaded him to take a step back and reconsider his actions.
The pair parted once Jonny was in the care of the police and did not cross paths again until Jonny, on the road to recovery, decided to look for Neil. This was 5 years later, and a high profile social media campaign resulted in an emotional reunion.
Not only did Neil save Jonny’s life that day, but their fateful meeting ignited a strong and influential partnership, paving the path towards a career of mental health awareness campaigning that has released the issue from its stigma and enabled individuals and organisations throughout the country to address the problem head-on.
Neil and Jonny’s partnership took them into the public speaking arena, enabling them to use their experience to speak to companies about how to look after their staff and to recommend ways of supporting those facing mental health difficulties.
This year marks Neil and Jonny’s ‘Manniversary’ – a decade since they met and the course of both of their lives was changed.
To mark this milestone, the pair has teamed up with Zoe Sinclair of Employees Matter to orchestrate the most exciting mental health conference the UK has seen.
This Can Happen is a one-day conference taking place in Central London on November 20th, 2018. It will host a carefully selected roster of thought-leaders who will address delegates about recognising, addressing and supporting staff with mental health issues at any level of an organisation. Uniquely, the high-level content will cover practical methods of implementation, so that every delegate will leave with valuable and achievable takeaways.
Mental health issues can feel suffocating, but with the full support of colleagues, life can become more bearable and succeeding at work can once again become a reality.
Every manager has a duty of care to their employees and must be able to confidently identify problems and instigate processes. This Can Happen can help. Please join us in November and become part of a growing movement of mental health advocates.
We are sending out a monthly newsletter with updates and exciting content from confirmed speakers. To sign up to receive the newsletter or to inquire about sending a delegation from your business to the Mental Health conference of the year, please email firstname.lastname@example.org