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Eight Novice Sailors Race Across The Atlantic For Mental Health Awareness

By David Saunders, Health Editor | UPDATED: 15:42, 19 November 2019

Suicide remains the biggest killer of young people under the age of 35 in the UK. This week, a crew of eight set off to take part in the Trans-Atlantic Yacht race, an event that involves rolling Atlantic swells, torrential rain, 30kts gusts of wind and a 16-day race over 2700 nautical miles of open ocean. The catch – the majority of them have never stepped foot on a sailing boat before.

Race4Rene are a team of novice sailors who have taken this challenge upon themselves in memory of their beloved friend René and to raise money for two hugely important charities, Papyrus and Child Bereavement UK.

Rene was a hugely talented and kind person who sadly died at the age of 22, from suicide. To his friends, his struggles with mental health were very much unknown and the news of his death came as a huge sock. Race4Rene aims to help contribute to breaking the stigma around mental health while supporting these two charities.

Max Zamudio, René’s father, discusses the race and mental health awareness:

“In January 2017 I lost my only son, René aged 22 to suicide. A tragic loss of a young life with devastating impact on our family and the people that knew and loved René.

I hope that through the Race4Rene campaign we will encourage people to talk more openly about mental health and the devastating impact of suicide on loved ones and friends. We can only hope that through our efforts of encouraging dialogue around mental health and raising money for our nominated charities that we may help save more young lives. Suicide is still the single biggest killer of men under 45 in the UK; this has to end…”

Papyrus and Child Bereavement UK are two charities that are integral to the support network for families and young people effected by suicide. Each year around 6000 families are bereaved by suicide, with over 200 school children being lost to suicide per year. We are dedicated to raising £150,000 in order to support these two charities, who provide services from helplines to support groups and training for public officials, all of which will contribute to reducing the stigma around suicide and the number of people that suicide effects each year.

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