‘Make it Visible’ – an unmissable suicide prevention campaign

Ford has partnered with the Lighthouse Construction Industry Charity for “Make it Visible” – a new high-visibility campaign using high-visibility safety vests to attract attention and direct people to help when needed.

The UK commercial vehicle leader is stepping in to help tackle the problem, with up to two construction workers killed by suicide every day, according to the Office for National Statistics.

Despite extensive physical security measures taken to protect workers on site, construction workers in the UK and Ireland are taking their own lives, unaware of the help and support available.

Working with the Lighthouse Club and building contractors Balfour Beatty, Ford seeks to actively promote wellness awareness among its van customers. With Ford accounting for nearly one in three new utility vehicles sold throughout 2021 – and more in the construction industry – putting mental safety on equal footing with physical safety on construction sites is a milestone for this group of customers. By helping to make support more visible, more workers will be able to seek help from available resources.

“This campaign is extremely important to Ford and highlights the importance of mental wellbeing alongside physical wellbeing on the construction site,” said Mandy Dean, Director, Commercial Vehicles, Ford of Great Britain and Ireland. “As the UK’s best-selling commercial vehicle brand, it’s likely that the majority of construction workers are also Ford customers and operators, so we feel we have a duty to support them, thanks to this partnership with the Lighthouse Club, raising awareness and gaining support. to those who need it. »

The “Make it Visible” campaign follows Ford’s “Elephant in the Transit” launch in 2018, raising awareness of male suicide and promoting a vehicle’s front seats as a safe space to talk.

This latest initiative aims to provide advisers with a means of getting to construction sites, with on-site posters in the colors of the vest. These posters will direct workers to a safe place to talk offsite, so more can easily call for help.

Bill Hill, CEO of the charity Lighthouse Construction Industrysaid, “We are absolutely thrilled to partner with Ford to deliver the ‘Make it Visible’ campaign.

“These highly recognizable vans will visit sites across the country to provide visible support to boots in the field. The vehicles are piloted by the Lighthouse Club on-site team, all of whom are mental health first aiders with relevant experience in the construction industry. I am convinced that this initiative will have a positive impact on the well-being of the workforce and ultimately save lives. »

The ‘Make it Visible’ campaign kicks off at this year’s Birmingham Commercial Vehicle Show, supported by a fully decked-out Transit Custom in high-visibility matching colours. On launch day, the Ford stand will feature construction contractors Balfour Beatty, a key supporter of the initiative, who helped pilot the program at one of their sites in London.

Heather Bryant, Director of Health, Safety, Environment and Sustainability at Balfour Beatty, said, “For too long, the construction and infrastructure industry has treated mental health as the poor cousin of physical health. We need to change this incredibly outdated perception – and at Balfour Beatty we continue to lead the charge.

“The ‘Make it Visible’ campaign helps build on the work we have done with the charity Mates in Mind, helping us specifically reach those, including our valued supply chain partners, who may not be aware of the resources available to them, while providing a dedicated and safe space to talk.

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