Duke of Cambridge praises Jonny Benjamin’s mental health work in foreword to new book

The Duke of Cambridge has written the foreword to ‘The Stranger on the Bridge: My Journey from Despair to Hope’, a book to support those with mental health issues.

The book was written by Jonny Benjamin, who received an MBE from the Prince William at Buckingham Palace in 2017. At the age of 20 he was diagnosed with schizoaffective disorder, and was once suicidal. But having changed his life around, he now campaigns passionately to help those suffering with mental health issues.

Prince William, The Duke of Cambridge has written the foreword to a book about mental health. (I-images)

The new book will be the first of two to be published over the next year. ‘The Stranger on the Bridge: My Journey from Despair to Hope’, written with Britt Pfluger, records Jonny’s account of living with mental illness, from childhood to the present. It also contains extracts from Jonny’s personal diaries, letters and poems, and a contribution from Neil Laybourn, the man who stopped Jonny from taking his own life on a bridge in 2008. The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge met the pair back in 2016.

Next year, Jonny’s second book, ‘The Book of Hope’ will be published. It will include a collection of poems, stories and quotes to inspire those suffering with their mental health.

William, who has campaigned on mental health issues for years, praised Jonny’s bravery, determination and passion in the book’s foreword. He also applauded Jonny’s ability to talk openly about mental health.

The Duke also reflects on Jonny’s support for The Royal Foundation’s Heads Together campaign, which culminated in Jonny completing the London Marathon last year.

The second in line to the throne writes: “As an award-winning campaigner, Jonny is passionate about tackling the stigma surrounding mental health and supporting people to have conversation about how they are feeling, without fear or prejudice.”

“Mental health is not a dirty word – we all have mental health like we do physical health, good or ill.”

“As you will read in this book, at times for Jonny it has been hard but thanks to a strong support network and his personal determination to get through, he provides an extraordinary example to us all.”

The Duke concluded, “I know there is so much more on this journey to come.”

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge speak with former patient Jonny Benjamin and Neil Laybourn during their visit to St Thomas’ Hospital in London in March 2016. Picture by WPA Rota / i-Images

The foreword has gained lots of attention on social media, with one user, Margaret Williams, promising to buy a copy of the book: “The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge continue to start trends in mental health that improve the life of everyone.

“I am so happy to be alive today because of the work of this incredible family. I will definitely be picking up a copy of your book. Wishing you all continued success!”

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1 comment

Yumiko kokuryu Tue 10 April, 2018 - 5:31 pm

From the Duke’s the foreword to ” the stranger on the bridge “, I realize the duke’s deep understanding and support of mental health issue.


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