Mental health network set up by Bromsgrove car enthusiast

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Dan Pendry-MooreImage source, Dan Pendry-Moore
Image caption,
Dan Pendry-Moore said the modified car community could be an image conscious environment

A car enthusiast who has experienced depression has set up a support network for like-minded people.

Dan Pendry-Moore, from Bromsgrove, hopes Sad Boi Race Club will help fight a mental health stigma among men.

The 32-year-old said his story was "very typical of most men" who "bottle up" feelings.

Figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) show in 2019, the suicide rate for males in England was at its highest since 2000.

Speaking to BBC Hereford & Worcester's Sons of Anxiety podcast, Mr Pendry-Moore said his mental health "took a decline" after the birth of his son.

"It sounds horrendous every time I say it, but it's the life change I think," he said.

"It got a lot worse before it got better. I went to some really dark places and those dark places came in between waiting for help."

Image source, Dan Pendry-Moore
Image caption,
Dan Pendry-Moore said his mental health "took a decline" with the birth of his son

After having depression and anxiety, he wanted to use the experience to help others, particularly in the "modified car and car culture industries" that he is part of.

"It's a very image conscious thing, you want to turn heads, you want people to look at these cars, but you also want to hide behind that.

"The thing I picked up and that really resonates now, was how alone I felt, with depression and anxiety you feel like the only person on earth."

"I wanted to support people [in the sector] and make them feel they're not alone and normalise the talk around mental health with the goal of reducing the stigma."

He said alongside his full-time job as a designer, he can be "up until midnight" talking to people.

Image source, Dan Pendry-Moore
Image caption,
The 32-year-old says he received a lot more messages to his network during lockdown

Over a number of years, he has built up a support network for people on a private Facebook group and Instagram page.

Initially public, he said he had to make both private after receiving abuse, "It can be very bullyish [in the community]," he said.

Asked if he thought the coronavirus pandemic had added to a decline in people's mental health, Mr Pendry-Moore said he had seen a "massive increase" in messages.

As for himself, he said while he still has "down days", he has learned ways to manage them better.

You can hear Dan Pendry-Moore on Sons of Anxiety on BBC Sounds.

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