For Jonny Benjamin, sitting on the edge of Waterloo Bridge, contemplating taking his own life, it was inconceivable that a decade later he would be considered one of the UK’s leading mental health experts.
Jonny’s journey to recovery began when a stranger walked past him on the bridge on that fateful day. Unlike the hundreds of commuters who strode by without a backward glance, this one stopped and looked. He looked not only with his eyes but with his heart, aware that the look of loneliness and despair in Jonny’s eyes foretold sinister intent. The stranger approached him gently and talked him back from the edge.
For 5 years the pair remained strangers but Jonny never stopped thinking about the man on the bridge who saved his life. He launched a high profile social media campaign called #FindMike, and when Mike turned out to be Neil Laybourn, an unlikely and powerful partnership was born.
Jonny and Neil travel the world talking to businesses about mental health and its impact on employees. Passionate about persuading leadership teams in the world’s biggest businesses to look out for their staff by putting mental health toolkits in place, their mission has been far-reaching and impactful. Jonny was awarded an MBE for his campaigning work and the pair has partnered with members of the British Royal Family for the high profile Heads Together campaign.
One day in 2017, on a train, Neil was thinking aloud and Jonny tuned in. The result of their musings was This Can Happen – a conference to bring mental health awareness and action to the workplace. The pair joined with Zoe Sinclair of Employees Matter to put together the biggest mental health conference the UK has seen.
This Can Happen will take place in London in November 2018 and aims to bridge the gap between awareness and process. Speakers will deliver actionable wisdom and advice for teams to take back to the office, to implement and to make a difference.
The conference is aimed at all levels of a business, from the post-room to the Board Room. Mental Health issues affect staff throughout companies, and delegations are encouraged to represent staff in various positions.
The speakers are thought-leaders and experts in their fields. They have been carefully selected for their experience, knowledge and wisdom, and the impressive list is growing every week.
This Can Happen is designed to change the corporate mental health landscape, ultimately improving quality of work and life for thousands.