Friend of Happiful Jonny Benjamin shares that he – like so many of us – is very ready to be able to get out a little more and see people once again. As a mental health campaigner who is focussed on improving care provision for young people in particular, he feels that the best connections are made in person.
However, lockdown hasn’t stopped Jonny’s mental health advocacy work. On 3 February 2021 Beyond, the charity co-founded by Jonny delivered Now and Beyond on Inside Out Day, the UK’s first ever mental health festival for schools and colleges. The festival reached over half a million students, teachers and parents, virtually, across more than 1200 educational settings.
Jonny continues his work with Beyond, and is also celebrating the release of his new book, co-curated and developed with Britt Pflüger, The Book of Hope: 101 Voices on Overcoming Adversity.
The book features Jonny and Britt’s own offerings on the subject of mental health and hope, 99 other contributors have also put pen to paper to share theirs too, including Lemn Sissay, Dame Kelly Holmes, Frank Turner and Zoe Sugg, Joe Tracini, Elizabeth Day, Hussain Manawer and Joe Wicks.
“I’m really excited to share this book with other people and I really hope it makes a difference and that people get something from it,” Jonny says.
The concept for the book started to take shape a number of years ago when Britt and Jonny first worked together on his autobiographical title
The Stranger on the Bridge: My Journey from Suicidal Despair to Hope.
Jonny wanted to create a book that would bring together a number of different voices, each sharing how they manage or overcome difficult periods in their own lives.
It’s always so inspiring and such a privilege to hear people talk so openly, honestly and candidly
“I always learn so much from hearing other people’s stories and their journeys,” Jonny explains.“That’s the one thing over the years working in mental health – getting to hear people share their lived experience, it’s always so inspiring and such a privilege to hear people talk so openly, honestly and candidly.”
Receiving each contributor’s story helped Jonny personally during a tough time too.
“It’s been quite a challenging few years and I’ve had a few relapses. It was nice to have people sending in their pieces so I could read them and take something from them when I was in a difficult place.
“I’ve learned or gained something from every single piece.”
Listen to Jonny’s full episode of I am. I have
Buy The Book of Hope: 101 Voices on Overcoming Adversity
Find out more about Jonny Benjamin
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