Jonny Benjamin MBE has suffered with his mental health for much of his life however he is now an award-winning mental health campaigner, film producer, and vlogger, after being on the verge of taking his life. He is most well-known for the social media campaign #FindMike where he led the search for the stranger who saved his life in 2008. Jonny’s name has become synonymous with mental health, being awarded the Janey Antoniou Award and an MBE. He has since become one of the most popular speakers on the subject, delivering talks at various schools, hospitals, conferences and universities worldwide.
When he was just 16 years old Jonny had already been diagnosed with depression after suffering auditory hallucinations since the tender age of 10. In his early 20s, Jonny was diagnosed with schizoaffective disorder. Eventually, his condition became so extreme he had to be hospitalised. When Jonny escaped hospital he went to Waterloo Bridge where he was found by a stranger. During Jonny’s #FindMike campaign which he began in 2014, he would later discover the stranger who saved his life was called Neil Laybourn.
Upon being signed off by his psychiatrist in 2011, Jonny began his mission of eradicating the negative stigma surrounding mental health. He began a vlog in an attempt to connect with others who suffered mental health difficulties, a vlog which has been watched by millions of people. He also released the poems he wrote whilst he was in the hospital to give others an idea of the inner workings of a schizophrenic mind. Becoming more and more involved in the life of a mental health campaigner, Jonny has produced and presented documentaries on both BBC Three and Channel 4 on the subjects of mental health and suicide, and is now the published author of three books.
In 2018 Jonny launched Beyond – a youth mental health charity, and in 2021, created the UK’s first-ever mental health festival for schools and colleges. Delivering captivating talks, Jonny’s audiences leave feeling motivated to become more proactive with mental health issues. Having delivered talks to the likes of JP Morgan, LinkedIn, Netflix and KPMG there is no doubt of Jonny’s uncanny ability to deliver speeches to a wide range of audiences; what makes them unique is Jonny always saves time for a Q&A session. When looking to hire a speaker to educate an audience on mental health, look no further than Jonny Benjamin.
“Please pass on our thanks to Jonny – his talk was great and extremely well received. I have done a post event survey and responses so far have been fantastic.”
“Just wanted to send a huge thank you for coming in to talk to our staff today. I know from verbal feedback that people found that hugely engaging, informative and inspiring. We couldn’t have asked for more.”
“Just a quick note to say a huge thank you for sharing your story with our Bank of Ireland team this morning – the feedback has been amazing! While that’s lovely in itself, even more importantly is that you will have made a difference to some of our people who didn’t know how they could find the “person on the bridge” that they might be needing to talk to. A huge thank you, really well done and my very best wishes to you both.”
“I think the session was excellent. I have had a couple of notes with really positive feedback. Neil and Jonny are a joy to work with, and their story speaks for itself.”