A Man Who Almost Jumped To His Death Is Now Running In A Marathon With The Stranger Who Talked Him Down

in 2008, Jonny Benjamin was talked away from the edge of a bridge by a stranger who noticed he was about to jump. Now Jonny and that stranger, a man named Neil Laybourn are running the London Marathon together to raise awareness about mental health. Find out more here!

Bruce Boyena
Created By Bruce Boyena
On Apr 24, 2017
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Nearly a decade ago, in 2008, Jonny Benjamin, who suffers from schizoaffective disorder, was seriously contemplating suicide on a bridge. Fortunately, a stranger noticed and came over to talk him down. He and that stranger, whom he then called "Mike" since he didn't know his name, wouldn't be reunited until 2014 when a social media campaign would finally bring Neil Laybourn back into Jonny's life.

After their reunion they became good friends and mental health advocates, and this year, they've been personally invited to run in the London Marathon by Prince William and his wife on behalf of the Heads Together organization, which promotes mental health awareness.

Princes William and Harry began working with the foundation after feeling a strong pull toward raising awareness about mental health issues because of the struggles they faced after the death of their mother, Diana. Now, Jonny and Neil look forward to participating in the cause as well.

Jonny Benjamin
It’s going to be emotional, very emotional. But we’re all in it together and I’m excited to be a part of it - it’s a privilege.
Jonny Benjamin, Independent Ireland, April 23, 2017

Neil, equally excited for the run, has also expressed his joy that mental health issues are becoming more and more visible and that the stigma attached to them is slowly but surely being removed.

Neil Laybourn
When I walked past Jonny that day on the bridge, there was a fraction of anything about mental health in the media. Now, there is an article in the newspaper every single day. It’s like an awakening at the moment, and it’s so great to see that.
Neil Laybourn, Independent Ireland, April 23, 2017

If you'd like to learn more about Heads Together, you can visit its website here! What do you think about this amazing story? Talk to us about it in the comments below, and share with your friends to see what they think.