Ford is launching a national awareness campaign that encourages people to speak more openly about mental health and to find safe, non-confrontational spaces to talk.

With the aim to reduce the stigma surrounding discussions on mental health, Ford has partnered with “Time to Change”, an established mental health campaign run by the mental health 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 a third of men (34 per cent) would talk openly about their feelings, while just under one third (31 per cent) of men said that they would be embarrassed about seeking help for a mental health problem.1

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 per cent) of people said they were more comfortable talking about issues when in a vehicle.

“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?’.”

Andy Barratt and Charles Bilyeu, Chief Executive Officer, Ford Credit Europe Bank, have both signed the Time to Change Employer Pledge, making Ford 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. “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.”

“We’re delighted that Ford is committed to improving attitudes towards mental health,” said Director of Time to Change, Sue Baker OBE. “Their support will help hit home the message that we all have a role to play in looking out for one another’s mental health. As Ford’s public awareness film highlights, talking about mental health doesn't have to be the elephant in the room.”

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

“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,” continued 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."

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