30 March 2021

Nottingham’s tram network is aiming to help save lives in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic by backing a campaign to raise awareness of a men’s mental health support group.

Suicide is currently the biggest killer of men under 45 and NET is sponsoring around 40 eye-catching posters, which will be displayed around the network, highlighting the work of Enlighten the Shadows.

The group was founded last year by Rory Green, a Community Protection Officer at Nottingham City Council, amid a nationwide increase in suicides and mental health problems among young men.

Chris Williams, who oversees social responsibility for the tram operator explained: “Rory’s story really is remarkable. Personally affected by depression and loss during the pandemic, he was determined to make a positive contribution to reversing rising suicide rates amongst young men and we wholeheartedly support his latest campaign.”

The group, which aims to become a full charity in 2021, is run with a team of just eight volunteers and produces weekly talks on their Enlighten the Shadows YouTube channel.

Viewers can watch frank discussions where local men cast light on issues that have caused them problems, whether due to losing a job, money problems, family difficulties, gambling or other addictions.

Enlighten the Shadows grew directly out of Rory overcoming his own depression caused by a series of tragedies as the first Covid-19 cases were reported.

“I felt like the world around me, and more specifically my life, was falling apart,” the 32-year-old explained.

“In February last year we lost our miracle baby, conceived after my wife and I had both been told individually that we couldn’t have kids. Three days later, a relative committed suicide, then my grandma died, and a university mate overdosed on pills.”

But, out of his own despair grew the inspiration to do something to help other people and to create a platform for men to shine light on their darkness.

“I wanted to provide a space where my guests can be raw and real. I believe in empowering men to find their thoughts and voice and to inspire some action.”

On the support from NET, he said: “We are very grateful to the operator for backing our efforts to reduce suicides in the face of all the pressures on mental health and well-being that the pandemic has brought. I travel to work every day on the tram and the posters will be a potent reminder that there is a helping hand out there.”

The poster campaign will run from later this month and Chris Williams added: “We’ve all been going through such difficult times over the past year and NET is committed as ever to supporting the most vulnerable in our community. We’re sure Rory’s support group can help many young men to get through this crisis and come out the other side stronger and more resilient.”