29 May 2014
On 14 January 2008 mental health worker Jonny Benjamin went to Waterloo Bridge to take his life when a stranger, ‘Mike’, stopped him and that changed his life forever.
Six years later this moving story has been turned into a feature length documentary film, produced in association with Rethink Mental Illness, about Jonny's search to find the man that saved him.
The search went viral, with the hashtag #findmike trending in the UK and countries as far afield as Canada, South Africa and Australia. Millions shared Jonny’s story including celebrities such as, Stephen Fry, Kate Nash and Boy George tweeting their support to find ‘Mike’. After two weeks, 31 year-old personal trainer Neil Laybourn from Surrey came forward and identified himself as the real 'Mike' and the pair were reunited.
We are the proud sponsors of the film premier of ‘Finding Mike’ which was held at the British Film Institute in London on Thursday 29 May. It is also possible to view the film at the Rethink Mental Illness charity website at www.rethink.org/findmike.
‘Finding Mike' is about raising awareness of suicide, which takes a life every 40 seconds around the world and to spread a message of hope that it is possible to recover from, and learn to manage, a serious mental illness like schizophrenia. Mental illness is a subject that can be uncomfortable to talk about, and the film, approaches the subject with openness and shows that there is help out there for those that are suffering.
Jim Islam, Executive Managing Director, Corporate business of Legal & General Assurance Society said: "The film is a great example of how in times of crisis it can take just one person to make a difference and that every day does really matter. Our experience, across our many business customers, shows that mental illness is the single biggest cause of long term absence. That's why wherever possible we provide our customer's employees who are diagnosed with a mental illness, prompt access to the most suitable treatment to help them facilitate a swift recovery. So we are proud to support Rethink Mental Illness and the 'Finding Mike' film event as well as the important work they do helping to raise awareness and providing support for mental health illness to help the stigma attached to mental illness to be broken down."
Rethink Mental Illness is a charity that believes a better life is possible for millions of people affected by mental illness. For 40 years they have brought people together to support each other and run services and support groups that change people's lives and challenge attitudes about mental illness. They directly support almost 60,000 people every year across England to get through crises, to live independently and to realise they are not alone. For more information go to www.rethink.org