IMG_5314Mental health campaigner Jonny Benjamin has spoken to Attitude about his struggle with schizoaffective disorder and coming to terms with his sexuality.

At the age of 20, Jonny attempted to commit suicide on London’s Waterloo Bridge, before a man approached him and told him that it wasn’t the answer.

He was later sectioned at St Thomas’s Hospital, but often thought about the stranger that the stopped him from jumping, who he referred to as Mike. He was reunited with his stranger, Neil Laybourn, after launching his ‘Find Mike’ campaign.

Jonny has opened up about his experiences in the latest issue, emphasising that the “culture of being macho” isn’t helping vulnerable men who struggle with mental health problems.

He said: “This culture of being macho is not doing anyone any good. If guys are constantly told to ‘man up’ it suggests that he is not allowed to be vulnerable. It feels like men aren’t allowed to struggle. No one ever said to me it was okay to have issues.

“I want other guys to know it is okay to have these feelings. We have to remember that statistics to show that 75 percent of suicides are men [thirteen a day in the UK]. It is the biggest killer of men under 50.”

With the help of his psychiatrist, Jonny came out to his family and is now happy with his sexuality, but admits that his paranoia still troubles him.

On whether his condition has ever got in the way of a relationship, he said: “I’m lucky. I haven’t experienced too much stigma. The only problem I’ve experienced is that some guys don’t really understand why sometimes I can be so paranoid.”

The full interview appears in the latest Attitude, The Summer Issue, which is available to download for your iPad or tablet now.

The print magazine is available to pick up in shops now too – including, once again, at WHSmiths.

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