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Ford’s drive for mental health support

Ford's elephant in the can campaign

Ford has launched a nationwide awareness campaign to “break the silence on mental health”.

Mental health problems affect around one in four people, and young men are particularly vulnerable.

Only a third of men (34%) talk openly about their feelings, while just under one third (31%) are too embarrassed to seek help.

Launched in collaboration with Time to Change, the campaign aims to encourage people to speak more openly about mental health and to find safe, non-confrontational spaces to talk.

Ford and Time to Change have created national public awareness film, “Elephant in the Transit”, after research revealed people believe vehicles to be comfortable spaces for difficult or personal discussion.

“One in four of us go through mental health issues at some point in our lives, so it really affects us all, be it through personal experience or through the people we know,” said Ford of Britain Chairman and Managing Director, Andy Barratt.

“As the market-leading car and van brand in the UK, Ford is an important part of society and we want to use that relationship to reach as many people as possible and encourage them to ask one simple question – ‘is everything OK?’.”

Ford is one of the first automotive manufacturers to promote metal health awareness in the workplace. The pledge commits the organisation to deliver actions aimed at increasing the mental health support available to employees, working in conjunction with Mental Health First Aid England.

“A vehicle is a great place to start talking because it’s like your own private bubble, where you’re on a journey together and you’re shoulder to shoulder,” says Ford engineer and employee champion, Matt Loynes, who came through the lowest point of his mental health issues with the support of a friend.

Ford and Time to Change have created five ‘top tips’ as a starting point to help people across Britain to spot the signs and offer the necessary support:

  • Text/Call Reach out – start small
  • Find a good time and place
  • Go for a coffee
  • Ask how they are – listen without judging
  • Treat them the same

“Having a mental health problem can be incredibly isolating, but knowing that there are people around you who care, and will listen without judgement, can make all the difference,” said Director of Time to Change, Sue Baker OBE.

“If you’re worried about a friend, loved one or colleague, don’t hesitate to reach out and ask them how you can help.”

About Gareth Herincx

Gareth is a versatile journalist, copywriter and digital editor who's worked across the media in newspapers, magazines, TV, teletext, radio and online. After long stints at the BBC, GMTV and ITV, he now specialises in motoring.

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