William and Kate meet mental health campaigner and the man who stopped him jumping off Waterloo bridge

Royals met man behind #FindMike - who tried to track down a passer-by who stopped him leaping to his death



The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge met a mental health campaigner and the man who saved him from taking his own life as they championed efforts to prevent suicide.

Jonny Benjamin started the #FindMike search in 2014 to find an unknown passer-by who stopped him leaping to his death from Waterloo Bridge in central London six years earlier.

Mr Benjamin, then 20, had been diagnosed with schizophrenia and said he felt his life had hit “rock bottom” before the kindly intervention of a stranger, later identified as Neil Laybourn when the search went viral.

William and Kate have been promoting mental health issues for some time and they today carried out private and public engagements to highlight the help available for those who threaten to take their own lives.

The royal couple chatted and shared jokes with the two men at London’s St Thomas’ Hospital where Mr Benjamin was treated after he threatened to take his own life.

After the meeting William said: “Someone told me five people a day try to kill themselves. I was just blown away by the statistics.”

Jonny Ben Will & kate (1)The Duchess of Cambridge and the Duke of Cambridge speak with former patient Jonny Benjamin (second right), and Neil Laybourn


He added: “For both of us, the mental health piece has got lots of aspects. It’s such a big issue that we need to do something about it.

“We feel it’s been raised higher up the ladder. It’s suddenly bubbling just under the surface. Now we need to get up to the next level, to the surface.”

The Duchess said: “We see through the work that we do with addiction, homelessness, and knife crime that a lot of it stems back to childhood.”

A documentary has been made about his experiences and the #FindMike campaign, and he regularly attends screenings of the film with young people as a way to encourage open discussions about mental health issues.

Later at Kensington Palace, the Cambridges will join 20 young people to watch the documentary, and the campaigner and his saviour will lead a discussion.

Following the session, William and Kate will join a private meeting with a group bereaved in various ways by suicide, to discuss their experiences and the support they have received since.


Credit: Evening Standard

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