Mental health campaigner and vlogger Jonny Benjamin will publish his memoir The Stranger on the Bridge in 2018.
Carole Tonkinson at Bluebird has acquired world rights for a two-book deal from Jonny Benjamin with Britt Pflüger. The first book, The Stranger on the Bridge
is a memoir charting Jonny’s extraordinary journey from the depths of severe depression to recovery and looking forward. A subsequent Book of Hope
, to be published a year later, will bring together stories from other people in recovery from mental health issues.
Jonny made international news in 2014 after launching the #findMike campaign to track down the stranger who saved his life by preventing him from jumping from Waterloo Bridge. Following a diagnosis and hospital stay for schizoaffective disorder, a stranger stopped and spoke to him, offering words of support, and ultimately saved his life.
The #findMike campaign captured the attention of the world, trending on Twitter and garnering 319 million followers as the search unfolded, gaining support from Stephen Fry, Boy George and the then Prime Minister.
The real ‘Mike’, Neil Layborn, got in touch after his girlfriend spotted the campaign and recognised the story. Jonny and Neil met the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge at Kensington Palace to discuss their experience and joined the launch of Heads Together
, the campaign that the Duke and Duchess are spearheading with Prince Harry to end stigma and change the conversation on mental health. Jonny and Neil have since committed to running the Virgin Money 2017 London Marathon for Heads Together, which is the official charity of the Marathon next year.
Carole Tonkinson, Publisher at Bluebird said,
'Through my work as a mental health campaigner and visiting places such as schools, hospitals and prisons both here in the UK and abroad in India, I've met thousands of people affected by mental illness and suicide. The shame I felt when I was diagnosed with schizoaffective disorder at the age of 20 almost led me to end my life. By sharing my journey I hope that this book will help the reader who is suffering in such a way to feel less alone, and ultimately offer them hope that it is possible to overcome the adversity attached to mental illness.'
Jonny Benjamin's global search to find the stranger who talked him out of jumping off Waterloo Bridge was made into an acclaimed Channel 4 documentary. Watch the trailer below.
'Jonny’s story touched us deeply. With suicide—especially in young men—on the rise and a deepening mental health crisis in the UK and beyond, Jonny’s book is coming at an important time. Jonny is an absolute inspiration and I know that his book will be in effect a ‘stranger on the bridge’ to many, offering hope and connection to those who feel in a dark, lonely place. Bluebird could not be more proud to be his publisher.'
Jonny Benjamin is a mental health and LGBT rights campaigner and vlogger, vlogging throughout his stages of recovery on www.youtube.com/user/johnjusthuman
. Jonny is also ambassador for Rethink Mental Illness and CALM, the only male suicide prevention charity.
ABOUT HEADS TOGETHER
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry are spearheading the Heads Together campaign to build on the great work that is already taking place across the country, to ensure that people feel comfortable with their everyday mental wellbeing, feel able to support their friends and families through difficult times, and that fear no longer prevents people talking or getting the help they need. Heads Together brings together a team of charity partners and campaigners that have achieved great progress in tackling stigma, raising awareness, and providing vital help for people with mental health problems. The team covers a wide range of mental health issues that are close to The Duke and Duchess and Prince Harry's passions. To find out more visit www.headstogether.org.uk.
The Stranger on the Bridge will publish in hardback in January 2018.