Beyond Shame Beyond Stigma is a brand new mental health charity created by renowned British mental health advocates Jonny Benjamin MBE and Neil Laybourn.
Jonny and Neil first came to prominence following their award-winning Channel 4 documentary, The Stranger on the Bridge, which followed Jonny’s journey to find Neil, who years earlier had talked him down from a bridge when he was suicidal.
After the pair were reunited they began sharing their inspiring story across the UK and the rest of the world. The two of them have created conferences, written books and even run marathons together in aid of mental health and suicide prevention.
Jonny and Neil’s latest endeavour, Beyond Shame Beyond Stigma, has been set up to support young people, their families and educators.
Three-quarters of all mental health issues begin in adolescence and yet many young people do not get the help they require. Jonny’s own mental health issues started at the age of 10 and he firmly believes that if he would have received the appropriate intervention early on he wouldn’t have ended up on the edge of the bridge where he met Neil at the age of 20.
According to the Centre for Mental Health, the average wait for effective mental health treatment In the UK is 10 years:
“It can take a decade for many young people to receive help after showing first symptoms. Opportunities to help are often missed until they reach “crisis”, causing children to self-harm and become suicidal.” [CFMH, 2017]
Beyond Shame Beyond Stigma aims to provide the help currently lacking in mental health provision by giving grants to organisations and charities that work with young people, their families and educators.
Speaking about the charity, Jonny says:
“The Children’s Commissioner says that 75% of young people with mental health issues are not currently receiving any treatment. Yet suicide remains the biggest killer of young people in this country.Something is going drastically wrong within our mental health system. I’ve seen constant cuts to mental health services that have created a crisis in care we urgently need to resolve. I’m hoping Beyond Shame Beyond Stigma can help to fund and support timely mental health treatment so that no more young people have to reach the point of crisis, and even more tragically, suicide.”