Jonny Benjamin was 20 when he was diagnosed with schizoaffective disorder (a condition that has both psychotic and mood symptoms). He received treatment but had lost hope that his life would ever return to normality.
On the morning of 14 January 2008 Jonny walked to Waterloo bridge and intended to end his life. Feeling distressed and hopeless, Jonny was on the other side of the railings when a passerby offered him coffee.
“He was very calm and said ‘Please don’t do this, I’ve been where you are and you can get better. Let’s have a coffee and we can talk about this,’ he reminded me of what people do every day so the normality of it was really interesting.”
Climbing back over the railings, Jonny agreed to go for a coffee. By this time the police had arrived and were there to take care of him – in the end, Jonny never found out the stranger’s name.
The man, in his early 20s and on his way to work, changed Jonny’s outlook on life and if it wasn’t for him – Jonny says he doesn’t think he would be here today.
Six years later, Jonny is a mental health campaigner and wants to find this man (who he has nick-named Mike) to thank him personally. Jonny is also making a film about his road to recovery, keen to give hope to others who feel like he did that morning.
Jonny’s campaign has been backed by Rethink Mental Illness who are encouraging people to share his story. If you have any information that could help Jonny’s search, you can contact Rethink Mental Illness in confidence: firstname.lastname@example.org