Prince William has written an introduction to the upcoming The Stranger on the Bridge, a memoir by Jonny Benjamin detailing his struggle with mental health and how he overcame a suicide attempt 10 years ago thanks to the help of a stranger.
“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,” Prince William’s foreword begins.
“As an award-winning campaigner, Jonny is passionate about tackling the stigma surrounding mental health and supporting people to have the 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. But I have seen time and again how not seeking help when it seems too much can impact the rest of our lives. 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.”
Jonny’s upcoming memoir will be published on 3 May, and per his official website will “chart Jonny’s account of living with mental illness, from childhood to the present day.”
The memoir will contain diary entries, letters, poems, and a contribution from the man who stopped Jonny from committing suicide in 2008, on the Waterloo Bridge.
“On the several occasions we have met throughout The Royal Foundation’s Heads Together campaign 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 the journey began, and I know there is so much more on this journey to come.”
Benjamin tweeted the news on his personal account, noting that he was “so incredibly grateful and humbled by this. The work that the Duke is doing together with the Duchess [Kate] and Prince Harry to eradicate the stigma attached to mental health is phenomenal. To have the Duke’s support means more than I can say!”