Prince William has written a heartfelt foreword for The Stranger on the Bridge; a memoir written by Jonny Benjamin who very nearly committed suicide in 2008.
William recalled how he’d met Benjamin in 2016 and how a stranger called Neil Laybourn had convinced him to not jump from Waterloo Bridge in London all those years ago.
The royal wrote, according to Hello! magazine: “I first met Jonny, along with Neil – the ‘Stranger on the Bridge’ – in 2016 when we sat overlooking the River Thames at Waterloo.”
“We talked about the desperate day that brought them both together, and Jonny’s brave journey since then to raise awareness of what it is like to live with mental illness.”
William, who launched the Heads Together initiative with Kate Middleton, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, continued, “Mental health is not a dirty word. But I have seen time and again how not seeking help when it all seems too much can impact the rest of our lives.”
“I have been struck not only by Jonny’s honesty and openness but his ability to show that a mental health diagnosis should not put limitations upon anyone. With Neil, I watched him run the London Marathon past that very same bridge where their journey began, and I know there is so much more on this journey to come.”
Benjamin, who had been diagnosed with schizoaffective disorder, ran away from the hospital on January 14, 2008 before he made his way to the bridge.
Laybourn, who was a stranger, managed to persuade him to come back off the ledge.
If you or someone you know is in crisis and needs help, resources are available. In case of an emergency, please call 911 for immediate help.