A non-profit community working to empower people to support their own mental health, sidekick, has announced a month-long campaign 'we all know an Alex', to highlight the scale of suicide among young men and encourage open and honest conversations about this difficult and prevalent topic.
The campaign is in memory of Alex Stern, one of James' cousins, who went missing in Sonning on 11 January and whose body was found in the River Thames on 3 April. The campaign will culminate in a fundraiser in Alex's memory, where five of his friends will complete a 50-mile run on 10 October.
James Shrager, co-creator of sidekick, said: "Sadly, 18 people a day take their own lives in the UK, and suicide is the single biggest killer of men under 45. This needs to change. We want to help promote awareness of mental ill-health and encourage others who might be facing similar battles to speak up and get the help they need before it’s too late."
The run will start in Sonning (where Alex was last seen) following the river on a route back to one of his favourite Chelsea pubs. Alongside the run, James and a group of friends will cycle a 75 mile route, teaming up with the runners for the final stretch from Kew to South Kensington. Finally a third group will also be joining up at Kew to run the final 10km.
The event will raise money for Berkshire Lowlands Search and Rescue, who worked tirelessly in its quest to find Alex, searching the river despite incredibly difficult conditions with almost continual flooding. This was a major operation over hundreds of man-hours with helicopters, drones, sonar, dogs and divers scouring the river in Sonning where Alex was last seen alive.
Speaking about the sidekick campaign, James said: "For the next month, between World Suicide Prevention Day, 10 September, and World Mental Health Awareness Day on 10 October, we’re encouraging open and honest conversations about the difficult and prevalent topic of suicide. helping to raise awareness and helping to prevent people from acting on suicidal thoughts."
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- James Shrager
- Sidekick Community Limited
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