Man Saved Suicidal Mental Health Sufferer With Nine Simple Words
Sometimes suicide isn't preventable, and on occasion it's only prevented at the very last minute.
Either way, no one should have to get anywhere near the point of no return before feeling capable of speaking to someone. There's a stigma that surrounds mental health, particularly in males - in some cases, sufferers worry that depression, anxiety or suicidal feelings may be perceived as weakness, which can be an obstacle to opening up.
In many cases, talking about things can prove to be part of the healing process - take the story of Jonny Benjamin, for instance.
The 29-year-old had been diagnosed with schizoaffective disorder - which carries traits of both schizophrenia and biopolar disorder - before he prepared to kill himself.
Luckily, as he stood on Waterloo Bridge in London, passer-by Neil Laybourn realised what was happening, so rushed over. With nine simple words, a stranger was able to save Jonny, as he said: "It will get better mate, you will get better."
The following 25 minutes were spent with the two chatting before emergency services turned up to help Jonny, with Neil heading off.
Jonny's recovery was slow, but eventually he got better, and remembered the help of Neil. He wanted to reunite with his saviour, but unfortunately only remembered him as 'Mike'.
He launched a #FindMike social media campaign, which went viral, and luckily after two weeks he found the man he was looking for.
They met again and became great friends - and still are to this day, campaigning together on mental health issues.
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Jonny was awarded an MBE for his services to mental health and suicide prevention earlier this year, showing truly how far he'd come from the man who stood atop a bridge ready to end it.
Together they appear at places like Bristol University where they talk to sold-out audiences about their first encounter and the importance of sharing your problems with those around you, reaching out for help and not suffering in silence.
"When I started university, it was really hard. I wanted to fit in and be like everyone else. I just shut down and didn't talk about the struggles I was facing," Jonny says, offering advice to students.
"It's so important to talk about it and know that you're not alone. It's amazing to discover that people are feeling the same. Be brave and open up to those around you."
Professor Hugh Brady, vice-chancellor and president of the university, said: "Signing the pledge is part of the university's commitment to changing how we think, talk and act about mental health, and ensuring students and staff who are facing these problems feel supported."
Tragically it's not always this straightforward, and those nine words that saved Jonny may not seem like a solution to everyone. But the lesson here is to ensure that everyone knows they can talk to someone. Chat with a mate, open up to a family member - or even reach out to one of the organisations listed below, whose support has proved a great help to many people. No one should have to suffer in silence.
'U OK M8?' is an initiative from LADbible in partnership with a range of mental health charities which features a series of films and stories to raise awareness of mental health.
Samaritans: 116 123.
CALM: Outside London 0808 802 5858, inside London 0800 58 58 58.
Featured Image Credit: SWNS