Ford decorates Transit to spread awareness of mental health

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Commissioning artist Ruddy Muddy to draw an elephant on a filthy van, the brand says it’s confronting the real ‘elephant in the room’ – mental health

Ford is continuing its mental health campaign in association with the charity Time to Change, and has commissioned a Norfolk artist to ‘paint’ a mural onto a filthy Transit van in support.

‘Ruddy Muddy’ painted a huge elephant onto the van, signifying the act of confronting the so-called elephant in the room – in this case, mental health. Along with the elephant, the van carries the legend: “If your mate’s acting differently – ACT! Don’t let mental health be the elephant in the room,” as well as the #asktwice hashtag.

Ford’s support for the campaign comes after the manufacturer conducted research and found men working in trade and construction are at the greatest risk of depression. It also found more than half of Brits have had an emotional conversation while in a vehicle, with 60 per cent believing that’s the best place to do it.

Jo Loughran, director of the charity 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.”

Ruddy Muddy, the artist responsible for the portrait, said: “When the mental health campaign was first mentioned I knew I wanted to be on board. Poor mental health has touched both friends and family and I have seen first-hand what a profound impact it can have.

“A chance to do something that increases the awareness of talking and understanding mental health was an extremely interesting idea. If it can help just one person then it is a very important muddy van…”

Ford has been doing its own part to help its employees confront mental health issues. Since April, it has issued daily emails to employees around mindfulness and mental health awareness, trained 50 new mental health first aiders and provided mental health training to 250 others, and launched a dedicated employee wellbeing portal.

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