Prince William has paid tribute to the “honesty and openness” of a leading Jewish mental health campaigner, after it was announced that the second-in-line to the throne has written a foreword for his new book.
The Duke of Cambridge introduces Jonny Benjamin’s new work ‘The Stranger on the Bridge’ a decade after the campaigner was saved from suicide by a member of public.
Benjamin said he was “incredibly humbled and honoured” to have Prince William contributing, as Kensington Palace tweeted praise for his “bravery, passion and determination” and “incredible example” he sets, raising money for charity and speaking in schools about mental health.
In the foreword, Prince William writes that “mental health is not a dirty word – we all have mental health like we do physical health, good or ill.”
But I have seen time and time again how not seeking help when it all seems to much can impact the rest of our lives.”
As you will read in this book, at times for Jonny it has been hard but thanks to a strong support network and his personal determination to get through, he provides an extraordinary example to us all.”
Reflecting on his personal relationship with Jonny, a former JFS pupil, the Duke of Cambridge adds that he first met him “along with Neil – the Stranger on the Bridge’ in 2016 when we sat overlooking the River Thames at Waterloo.”
We talked about the desperate day that brought them both together, and Jonny’s brave journey since then to raise awareness of what it is like to live with mental illness.”
He adds that “on the several occasions we have met through The Royal Foundation’s Heads Together campaign I have been struck not only by Jonny’s honesty and openness but his ability to show that a mental health diagnosis should not put limitations upon anyone.
“With Neil, I watched him run the London Marathon past that very same bridge where their journey began, and I know there is so much more on this journey to come.”
— Kensington Palace (@KensingtonRoyal) April 9, 2018
Jonny Benjamin, who received an MBE in 2016 for services to mental health and suicide prevention said: ‘I was incredibly humbled and honoured that the Duke of Cambridge wrote such supportive and generous praise for The Stranger on the Bridge. The writing of the book has been both challenging and cathartic and l’m excited to see it on the bookshelves but, most importantly, l really hope it will inspire and help people who are experiencing any kind of mental health struggle.’
Since being saved from suicide in 2008 by Neil Laybourn, Benjamin, has spoken publicly and presented documentaries on the BBC and Channel 4 about his battle with schizoaffective disorder.
His story came to prominence after he found the man who talked him down from a London bridge following a national search, known as ‘Finding Mike’.
He has since spoken in schools, prisons and workplaces with his saviour Neil Laybourn, and raised thousands for Heads Together, a coalition of charities launched by the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry.
‘The Stranger on the Bridge: My Journey from Despair to Hope’ is published by Bluebird on May 3.
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