26 February 2018

One Inspiration at a Time...

I still cannot believe this is happening. The person that inspired me to share my story and campaign to raise awareness of mental health issues has accepted Sheffield Hallam SU Student Minds invitation to be a guest speaker at Sheffield Hallam University for University Mental Health Day on Thursday 1st March 2018.

Wednesday 23rd September 2015:
“At 9:30am we listened to a seminar by two gentlemen from the documentary ‘The Stranger on the Bridge.’ It was so emotive hearing Jonny Benjamin’s harrowing story of his moments of despair. Then to hear about Neil’s involvement that day and the hope that he gave Jonny by just stopping to talk to him was inspiring. I was intrigued to hear about their involvement in revolutionising people’s concepts about mental health and I am going to contact the, to see if I can get involved.”

This is a diary entry written when I was a patient at Rharian Fields Specialist Eating Disorder unit. I had pushed myself and engaged with my treatment every single day in order for me to be able to request leave from the ward to listen to Jonny Benjamin share his story at a NAViGO event. I had been so desperate to listen to him and I was not disappointed. I left the event feeling empowered, enthusiastic and motivated. I had now heard of a truly positive recovery story and now I could see a life beyond my diagnosis.

When I started Sheffield Hallam SU Student Minds, trying to book Jonny Benjamin and Neil Laybourn for a guest speaker event was at the top of my list of goals to achieve during my time as President. I knew the power that listening to somebody that had been through such a difficult situation could have on those that may be suffering, or those that are worried about a family member or friend, and I wanted other people to be able to have that experience. Therefore, when I received confirmation that they had accepted our invitation, I was absolutely thrilled! Not only had they accepted our invitation, but they would also be speaking on University Mental Health Day 2018!

One aspect of this event that I did not anticipate was the extremely generous level of support that Sheffield Hallam Students’ Union and Sheffield Hallam University would offer. Without their kindness and enthusiasm for this event, we as a society would not have been able to invite Jonny and Neil to visit. I think this truly demonstrates the commitment that Sheffield Hallam have to improving mental health on campus and enabling students, staff and the public to learn more about the difficulties that people experience when suffering with mental health problems. As somebody that want to raise the importance of mental health, educate others and offer support, I could not have asked for anything more from my place of study. I am so excited for the event and I truly hope that attendees leave having gained something from the wonderful speakers, Jonny and Neil.

You can still get tickets using the following link, but be quick, there are only 100 tickets left:

The event is open to everybody and is completely free, although we will be raising money for Student Minds using fundraising buckets at the entrance to the venue. 

We look forward to seeing you there!

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