Six years ago, Jonny Benjamin was 20-years-old and learned he had schizoaffective disorder. The disorder led him to come very close to taking his own life, but someone stopped him from jumping off a bridge — literally.
Just a couple weeks ago, Benjamin started a campaign to find this person to thank them for encouraging him not to jump from the Waterloo Bridge into the River Thames in London.
The “Find Mike” campaign with the help of the advocacy group Rethink Mental Illness spread on social media and soon reached a man name Neil Laybourn. Laybourn, not a man named Mike, is who talked Benjamin down that day.
On Thursday, the pair met again under much better circumstances.
“When we met, it was clear how much that encounter on the bridge meant to Jonny, he told me it was a pivotal moment in his life — which was great to hear,” Laybourn said, according to Rethink. “I didn’t feel it was that big a deal; I did what anyone would do. I wasn’t trying to fix his problems that day, I just listened.”
Watch the moment the pair saw each other again, Benjamin choking up as he went in to hug Laybourn:
Laybourn told Rethink after getting to know Benjamin, he thinks they’ll stay in touch.
“… bloke and it’s brilliant to see him smiling again,” Laybourn said.
As for Benjamin, he told Rethink “it means the world to me to finally have the opportunity to say thank you.”
Benjamin has since become a mental health advocate.
“I have now made a recovery from this episode and want to break the silence and remove the stigma about this disease and mental illness in general,” his description on his YouTube channel says. “With just a little more understanding and acceptance, perceptions of mental illness can so easily change for the better.”