I am fortunate at Employees Matter to work with many different people, to meet experts in their field and to hear inspiring stories. This year has been no exception.
2016 has seen new Family Networks being established, Wellbeing weeks organised, Diversity Months expanding, Bring Your Child to Work Days take place all over the UK and the Employees Matter membership initiative double in size. But the one single subject that has taken the workplace by storm has been ‘mental wellbeing.’
I first met Jonny Benjamin and Neil Laybourn in a cafe in Victoria Station on a bleak weekday morning at the beginning of the year. It would not be an exaggeration to say that the meeting was the most inspiring I have ever had.
That same morning, Neil Laybourn was walking to work when he saw a young man about to jump off Waterloo Bridge. He approached Jonny and ultimately saved his life. The two men went their separate ways.
Between 2008 and 2014 Jonny was recovering and trying to get his mental health back on track. He then decided to speak out to help others and stop them suffering in silence as he had done. This led to him becoming an ambassador for Rethink Mental Illness. Together they came up with the idea to launch a campaign to find the person who had saved Jonny’s life. The ‘Find Mike’ campaign was a huge success. They found ‘Neil’ and now the dynamic duo campaign across the country doing the most fantastic work.
This explanation does not do justice to the way Jonny and Neil explain their story, to the compassion they share and the understanding of mental wellbeing that they are trying to spread to as many people as possible.
Employees Matter has been fortunate to have worked with them on many occasions in 2016 attempting to tackle the stigma of mental health in the workplace and encouraging people to come forward and speak. Their interviews and talks have inspired hundreds of people this year and have certainly been a highlight of my year.
I have been truly inspired.
Time to Talk Day 2nd February 2017
Children’s Mental Health Week – February 6-12th 2017
Mental Health Awareness Week – May 8-16th 2017
World Mental Health Day October 10th 2017
National Stress Awareness Day November 1st 2017