In April, Ford of Britain announced a nationwide awareness initiative in collaboration with Time to Change that aimed to break the silence on mental health. The campaign launched following research showcasing that the male trade demographic is the most vulnerable to depression & the least likely to speak out about it.

To mark world Mental Health Day on 10 October, a new way to spread the message even further is being piloted by taking it out onto the road with the help of acclaimed dirty van artist, Ruddy Muddy and his reverse graffiti dirty van art. Continuing messaging from the nationwide advert that screened in April, the dirty van art brings to life the image of an elephant stuck inside a transit van, urging drivers to address the mental health stigma, the real elephant in the room. In the same way that ‘clean me’ messages are often written onto vans, the van art aims to capture the attention of drivers on the road who would not otherwise come across mental health awareness education.

Jo Loughran, Director of Time to Change, said “It's really important to us that we change how people think and act towards those of us experiencing mental health problems. Mental health problems can affect anyone and they can be hard to discuss. Our latest research shows that when asked how we are, three quarters of us will say ‘I’m fine’ even if we’re struggling with our mental health. This World Mental Health Day, we’re encouraging everybody to ask twice. Asking twice – “Are you sure you’re ok?” - means people are much more likely to open up in conversation. 

“We're proud to be working alongside Ford on their dirty van art campaign. The van, featuring elephant artwork, will go out on the road to all its usual customers and encourage people to address ‘the elephant in the room,’ helping more people feel comfortable seeking the support they need for their mental health.”

Since signing the Time To Change Employer pledge in April, Ford has:

  • Issued daily emails to employees around mindfulness, mental health awareness and the habits of happiness.
  • Launched Mental Health Awareness first aid training to ensure that there are dedicated first aiders available at all locations to support employees who may be experiencing mental health issues.
  • Set up a dedicated wellbeing portal for all employees called Life@Ford.
  • Targeted 50 employees to be trained as mental health first aiders, adding to the already 250 other employees that received mental health training.

This compliments the England-wide campaign, launched by Time to Change that encourages people to ‘Ask Twice’ if they suspect a friend, family member, or colleague might be struggling with their mental health. The campaign says the simple act of asking again, with interest, shows a genuine willingness to talk and listen.