Ford is launching a national awareness campaign to encourage people to speak more openly about mental health and to find safe, non-confrontational spaces to talk.
The manufacturer has partnered with 'Time to Change', a mental health campaign run by charities, Mind and Rethink Mental Illness.
Around one in four people in the UK experiences mental health problems and young men, in particular, have been identified as a vulnerable demographic.
Only one-third of men (34%) would talk openly about their feelings, while just under one third (31%) of men said that they would be embarrassed about seeking help for a mental health problem
A national public awareness film, promoting the front seat of a vehicle as a safe space to talk, leads the campaign after research, conducted by Ford, found that over two-thirds (67%) of people said they were more comfortable talking about issues when in a vehicle.
Andy Barratt, chairman and managing director of Ford of Britain, said: "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.
“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?’.”
Andy Barratt and Charles Bilyeu, chief executive officer of Ford Credit Europe Bank, have both signed the Time to Change Employer Pledge, which 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.
Ford engineer and employee champion Matt Loynes, who came through the lowest point of his mental health issues with the support of a friend, said: "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.
“This is about getting everyone on-board and making it part of the culture to take a moment to listen to friends, colleagues and family, to understand and to find the right help for them.”
Ford and Time to Change have also come together to create 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