This Can Happen is a unique conference tackling mental health issues in the workplace & shifting awareness into action. We spoke to the people behind the event to find out what they hope to achieve...
How did the idea for This Can Happen come about?
Neil Laybourn and Jonny Benjamin have been partners in pioneering mental health work since they met on that fateful and infamous day on Waterloo Bridge a decade ago. Jonny was contemplating taking his life when Neil, a passing stranger, talked him down.
Neil didn’t only save Jonny’s life that day, but his selfless act of kindness marked the beginning of an important partnership. The pair have used their story to inspire others to seek help for mental health challenges they face, and they conceived of This Can Happen to bring their strategies and solutions to UK workplaces.
Why do you think an event like this is important?
With increased pressure on staff in terms of long working hours, as well as others flaunting success and happiness on social media, people in our society are increasingly prone to struggling with mental health problems – often in silence.
People are suffering and business is suffering. We have to work together to combat the pressures faced by many of our colleagues on a daily basis.
What’s happening at the conference?
This Can Happen is a unique conference in many ways - primarily that our speakers are offering practical take-aways and really workable plans for combatting mental health problems at work.
We have booked about 60 speakers to share their insights and solutions. We will also be revealing some ground-breaking research from Accenture, and offering experiential talks, networking opportunities and free childcare on the day. Over 650 people from over 70 companies have booked tickets so far, which is incredibly exciting.
MQ is proud to be one of the partners for this event. Why do you think it’s important to showcase mental health research in the programme?
Research gives a platform to figures. People listen to real numbers and statistics and maybe if they realise the extent to which mental health problems permeate their workplace, from the post-room to the boardroom, they’ll be inspired to help solve the problem. It’s also reassuring for those living with mental illness to realise that they are not alone.
Finally, what do you hope the conference will achieve?
We are looking forward to making a huge difference in businesses in the UK. We want to see real, workable and well-planned programmes put in place and we can’t wait to hear how our delegations are implementing the knowledge they take away from This Can Happen.
Neil Laybourn and Jonny Benjamin, two of the founders of This Can Happen. Photography by Joseph Sinclair for Happiful Magazine.
Last updated: 21 November 2018