Neil Laybourn is a renowned and highly sought after mental health and wellbeing consultant, public speaker & ambassador, having been invited to deliver talks and seminars to hundreds of well-known brands and organisations worldwide.
Neil’s passion for understanding mental health stems from his own profound experience of instigating a suicide intervention on London Waterloo bridge after witnessing a stranger attempting to take their own life in 2008. Six years later, Neil was reunited with ‘the stranger’, Jonny Benjamin, through the power of social media and they have remained firm friends ever since. In 2014, Neil’s role in the suicide intervention was recognized through a Pride of Britain award, and the following year, Channel 4 told this powerful story in the award-winning ‘Stranger on the Bridge’ documentary, which reached millions of viewers.
Neil Laybourn’s career began in the fitness industry in 2007, when he worked as a Personal Trainer in Central London running his own business, providing bespoke personal training services, hosting group fitness sessions and running residential wellbeing retreats. Due to Neil’s ongoing friendship and collaboration with Jonny, stemming from that suicide intervention, Neil transitioned from the fitness industry to being a leading UK mental health advocate in 2017, visiting Europe and the USA to deliver talks on the importance of mental health. Soon after, he founded ‘This Can Happen’ – an innovative mental health conference tackling challenges in the workplace and bringing solutions to employers and leadership teams.
This was made possible due to Neil’s connections with influential industry leaders, business figures and personal support. His involvement with the royals’ ‘Heads Together’ movement – a powerful and globally reaching public mental health campaign – led to the conference receiving royal support from HRH the Duke of Cambridge and the royal household.
In 2018, Neil co-founded the charity with Jonny Benjamin, Beyond Shame Beyond Stigma; a mental health education charity supporting young people. Their primary objectives are reducing suicides, self-harm and stigma by improving and enhancing mental health support and information for young people, their families and educators. His international advocacy work globally has involved visiting workplaces, universities, schools and public sector organisations. Also In 2018, Neil was awarded an Honorary Doctorate by Bristol University in recognition of his mental health campaigning and advocacy work. By 2019 Neil has expanded the conference brand to launch the This Can Happen Awards in order to celebrate the best practice of mental health in the workplace.
Neil Laybourn continues to work and advise on health and wellbeing, predominantly in the private sector, helping organisations to recognise, develop and implement effective health and wellbeing strategies locally and internationally within their own ranks. Neil has completed over 250 keynote speaking events to date. He is very proud of his official ambassador status with the UK wide charity, Mental Health UK, with whom he continues to collaborate with on many meaningful mental health initiatives. Just this year, Neil has been invited to represent LinkedIn through partnership as the official UK LinkedIn Changemaker in 2021 on the topic of mental health in the workplace.
Through continued development such as attending Mental Health First Aid instructor training & Suicide First Aid (city and guilds accredited) in conjunction with a unique exposure through his work, events and continued collaboration – Neil wants to share as much insight with his journey as possible to raise awareness and inspire others to both speak out and to influence positive long-term change on this crucial topic.
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