Bournemouth Samaritans will be welcoming Jonny Benjamin MBE and Neil Laybourn to their AGM on 22 May for a talk and Q&A session at Bournemouth University.
The pair feature in acclaimed Channel 4 documentary ‘Stranger on the Bridge’ which tells the story of how good Samaritan Neil talked Jonny down from Waterloo Bridge when he threatened to take his own life after suffering mental health problems.
Several years later, believing that the life-saving stranger was called Mike, Jonny set out to find and thank him using a social media campaign called ‘Find Mike’. The hashtag #FindMike went viral across the world and the pair were united after only two weeks with Neil’s girlfriend identifying him on Facebook.
Dr Andrew Mayers of Bournemouth University Psychology Group and Patron for Bournemouth Samaritans invited Jonny and Neil to give the talk.
He said: “The work of the Samaritans is vital. The perception is often that they are there for people to call if they are suicidal. While that is partly true, these calls are just a fraction of what occurs on a daily basis. Most callers are distressed or experiencing emotional difficulties. The Samaritan taking the call is highly trained. The key skill is listening, non-judgmentally, and without offering advice. Sometimes that’s all people need.”
Dr Mayers was recently awarded the prestigious Fellowship of the Royal Society for the Encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce for his work on mental health issues.
Jonny Benjamin was awarded an MBE earlier this year for his services to mental health and suicide prevention. Jonny and Neil both ran the London Marathon in April, raising £50,000 for mental health charity Heads Together.
The free talk will take place at the Talbot Campus on 22 May at 7.30pm. Tickets can be booked through the following link: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/jonny-benjamin-and-neil-laybourn-at-bournemouth-samaritans-agm-tickets-34032030720
The Samaritans can be reached 24 hours a day, 7 days a week on 116 123.