Jonny Benjamin MBE
Founder of ‘Beyond’
At the age of 20, Jonny was diagnosed with schizoaffective disorder – a combination of schizophrenia and bipolar. In 2008, feeling suicidal, Jonny decided to end his life. A passer-by saw Jonny sitting at the edge of a bridge and started speaking to him. That conversation led to them both leaving the bridge and going for a coffee – an act that would save Jonny’s life.
Some years later, Jonny started a social media campaign with Rethink Mental Illness to #findMike, the man who talked him out of jumping off a bridge when he was suicidal. The campaign went viral and led to Jonny becoming a prominent spokesperson on the subject of suicide.
Jonny now speaks publicly about living with mental illness; he has written articles and given interviews on TV, Radio and in print around the world to help educate and break the stigma associated with suicide. He has also produced and presented documentaries on BBC Three and Channel 4 on the subjects of mental health and suicide.
In 2018, Jonny founded a new youth mental health charity called Beyond – a grant-giving organisation that aims to provide mental health support to young people, their families and teachers. Beyond is led by a Youth Board who, together with Jonny, created the UK’s first mental health festival for schools and colleges in early 2021 – an event which, due to its huge success, was repeated in 2022.
Jonny is proof that one person can make a difference in helping to increase awareness about suicide and poor mental health, open up the conversation and then, with the help of others, take practical action to save lives. Visit Jonny’s website here: https://jonnybenjamin.co.uk/
Visit the Beyond charity website here https://wearebeyond.org.uk/