2018/19 Workplace Mental Health Conference Breaks New Ground

Neil founded and launched the inaugural This Can Happen Conference in 2018.

Winning coveted awards, the conference received outstanding acclaim from the UK business community as well as personal support and speaking appearance from the Prince of Wales (formerly Duke of Cambridge) during its inaugural year. This Can Happen continues to operate with a global presence and impact to this day.

By 2019, the ‘This Can Happen’ conference had expanded to launch the This Can Happen Awards under Neil’s directorship, in order to celebrate the best practice of mental health advocacy and solutions in the workplace. Again, this awards series continues to award new people and organisations each year for their inspiring efforts in this area.

Doctorate 2018

In 2018, Neil was awarded an Honorary Doctorate by Bristol University in recognition of his mental health campaigning and advocacy work.

This follows a visit by Neil (and Jonny) to the University in September last year when they spoke at the signing of the Time to Change pledge, which set out the University’s commitment to change the way we think, talk and act about mental health.

Mark Ames, Director of Student Services, presented Neil with his honorary degree in the Great Hall of the Wills Memorial Building.

He said: “It is with great pleasure that we welcome Neil (and Jonny) back to Bristol. Mental health and wellbeing is an area of increasing concern, for each of us personally but also for society.

Neil’s compassionate act of kindness which helped make this possible has also transformed the course of his own life, in ways he could not have anticipated when he stopped to talk to Jonny on that bridge.”

International Campaign
‘You Alright Mate?' 2017

Neil co-founded and launched ‘You Alright Mate?’ in the USA with Jonny Benjamin and fellow US mental health campaigner, Johnny Quinn Alston. ‘You Alright Mate?’ Is a thought leadership platform which connects mental health experts, strategists, creatives and educators with individuals and organisations.

It’s key aim is to increase awareness of mental health in the workplace and improve best practices outside of the UK.

‘You Alright Mate’ has sparked conversations about mental health and led to impactful changes in a diverse range of industry sectors.

Here are just a few examples of the events hosted since it was established in 2017.

  • Thomson Reuters
    • Neil Laybourn (along with fellow ‘You alright mate’ speakers) discussed mental health with staff at the Thomson Reuters headquarters in New York City.
  • Yale School of Management
    • Neil Laybourn addressed Yale School of Management staff and students in a collaborative conversation with clinical professors to break down barriers in discussing mental health at the university.
  • Black Rock
    • Neil Laybourn spoke to an external audience of business leaders, via a panel of ‘You Alright Mate’ speakers, hosted by Black Rock offices in New York City.

Mind Media Award 2015

The #FindMike social media campaign made headlines around the world as Jonny searched for the Good Samaritan, ‘Mike’, who talked him out of taking his own life.

‘Mike’ turned out to be Neil Laybourn, whose simple act of kindness prevented Jonny from taking his life.

Neil (along with Jonny) was awarded the Mind Media Award for ‘Making a Difference’ in 2015.

The Mind Media Awards are sponsored by VirginMoneyGiving which has raised £6million over the past six years to support the work of Mind.

Pride of Britain Award 2014

Neil was given a special recognition at the Pride of Britain Awards for his role in the suicide intervention of Jonny Benjamin.

Neil was on his way to work when he saw Jonny Benjamin, who had been diagnosed with a type of schizophrenia, on the edge of Waterloo Bridge intent on ending his life.

He was handed the award by comedian Russel Brand at the star studded glittering ceremony at London’s Grosvenor House Hotel.

Russell Brand greeted him by planting a big kiss on his cheek, and saying he was honoured to present an award to such a “wonderful example of humanity.”

View Neil's talks and events

Neil has given talks at various events in different industry sectors from media and construction to consultancy and fundraising.

Email Neil anytime, he endeavors to answer all inquiries within 24 hours on business days.