The #FindMike Campaign, Rethinking Mental Health
In January 2008, 20-year-old Jonny Benjamin stood on Waterloo Bridge and contemplated suicide. A passing stranger stopped and talked to Jonny, ultimately saving his life. Six years later, Benjamin, together with nonprofit Rethink Mental Illness, launched the #FindMike campaign to locate and thank the stranger. Within 24 hours the clip had been shared 43,000 times, viewed more than a million times and in two weeks ‘Mike,’ whose real name is Neil Laybourn, was found. In this video, mental health advocates Benjamin and Laybourn recall that experience on the bridge and how they are using their bond to change lives around the world.
Benjamin, on his 2008 exchange with Laybourn: “The one thing that really changed my mind was Neil saying to me, very matter of fact, “I think you can get better”…no-one had said that to me before…someone believed in me.”
Laybourn, on the stigma of mental health: “Up until two and a half years ago, when we were reunited and previous to that, I didn't have any idea about mental health, the landscape of mental health, personally or critically. I very much grew up with this kind of stigma that exists, what the connotations were at school and then growing up through adolescence and adulthood. It actually takes a long time to undo those kinds of thought patterns.”
Benjamin, on fostering open dialogue on mental health in the workplace: “Things are changing in the workplace now, which is amazing. So, I think we're getting there, but I think having openness in the workplace from the word go is really helpful.”