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Mental health - one person can save a life

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Last year, I was given the opportunity to attend a mental health conference in Leeds, along with more than 100 other DLG mental health first aiders.

We were privileged to have two amazing guest speakers: Jonny Benjamin MBE and Neil Laybourn. To say it was inspiring would be an understatement.

Jonny and Neil

Even if you don’t recognise their names, you’ve probably heard their emotional story. For those who haven’t, here’s a brief summary of “The Journey to Hope, Recovery and Beyond”.

In 2008, Jonny, who’d recently been diagnosed with schizoaffective disorder, ran away from hospital and found himself at Waterloo Bridge where he planned to end his life. Many people simply walked past. But Neil didn’t. He stopped and spoke to Jonny, eventually managing to talk him down from jumping.

Despite sharing such an important life event, the pair went their separate ways. Six years later, Jonny turned to social media to reconnect with the man who saved his life. Not knowing Neil’s name, Jonny nicknamed him Mike and launched the #FindMike hashtag alongside the charity Rethink Mental Illness. The campaign went viral – bigger than Beyoncé and Obama – and miraculously they found each other.

They’ve been friends ever since and together are helping to tear down the stigma attached to mental health.

The conference, and in particular Jonny’s story, was inspiring. It’s testament that the support of just a single person can have an overwhelmingly positive impact on the life of someone struggling with their mental health.

DLG is passionate about mental health

In addition to the support provided by more than 130 mental health first aiders, DLG employees can also call a dedicated 24hr support line provided by Care First.

Remember, it’s okay to ask for help. You’re not a burden. Please talk to a friend, a colleague or a mental health first aider. You’re not alone.

Together we can smash down the stigma.