At just 20 years old Ben has already won a Pride of Britain Award, The Diana Award (which is bestowed upon young people who have the power and are in a position to change the world for the better in honour of the legacy left by Princess Diana) and the Mental Health Hero Award as part of the The Sun Who Cares initiative. He has also spoken on ITV News and BBC Newsbeat, among others, about mental health and currently has an exciting new partnership with LinkedIn called ‘Changemakers’, which you can find more about here.
The sudden and unexpected loss of his brother to suicide two years ago propelled Ben to take positive action from this tragedy and concentrate his pain into a drive to campaigning around mental health awareness, suicide prevention and fundamentally changing how we approach mental health, especially in schools and the education system.
Alongside a group of his close friends and family, Ben organised “PROJECT WalkToTalk” – a movement to bring together a community of like-minded people to raise awareness and funds for the foundation set up in his brother’s name. The walk turned into a 200km trek across 10 days from Canterbury to Parliament Square in London. Upon arrival at Parliament, the project had raised over £15,000 and Ben was greeted with a letter from PM at the time, Theresa May.
After gaining this traction and seeing first hand the results of the walk in encouraging its participants to open up and talk, Ben made it his mission to carry on campaigning and petitioning for change. #SaveOutStudents has been one of the more recent campaigns he has initiated. The campaign involved creating a petition on change.org calling for mandatory training in mental health first aid for all educators who have the young people of our country in their hands. Surpassing the initial aim of 15,000 signatures within a day, the petition has reached over 200,000 signatures to date and planning is now taking place for the signature handover into 10 Downing Street.