BEN goes on the campaign trail

Automotive industry charity BEN is shining a light on the often unspoken issue of mental health with a new campaign underpinned by its first ever national fundraising day.

Mental wellness is one of BEN’s four pillars – along with physical, financial and social wellbeing – but is typically more difficult to talk about. With one in three people suffering from mental health issues at some point in their lives, or 250,000 people of the 800,000 working in this industry, BEN has stepped up to offer bespoke, personal support to anyone who needs it.

Yvonne Hignell, director of support services, said, ‘We’re seeing an increasing number of people call us with mental issues, but the industry is dominated by males and the truth is men find it difficult to talk about these issues.

‘Anyone can be affected by life’s ups and downs, mental health is unpredictable. Our mission is to understand each individual need and provide the kind of support, guidance and advice they need.’

To raise awareness of the campaign and encourage the wider industry to get involved, BEN’s first ever national fundraising day will take place on 10 November. The idea behind ‘Hats on 4 Mental Health Day’ is simple – wear a hat to work and donate £1 which the charity will invest in its services and support network. Take a picture and post it on social media with the tag #hatson4mentalhealth

Jools Tait, business development director at BEN, said, ‘This is truly a first for us, and we’re calling on everyone in the industry to come together on 10 November to support our mental health campaign.’

The campaign comes on the back of a rebrand which includes a new-look website which puts an emphasis on self-help and effective preventative measures, offering live chat and guidance on its four main pillars. BEN hopes that by engaging with employers and employees early, issues will be avoided and the average number of annual sick days per year will come down from 19.

Zara Ross, chief executive, said, ‘We’ve come a long way since we were founded in 1905. We’re still true to our founding values, but we’re now building on that good work. This is an exciting time of change for BEN and the changes go deeper than a new website and logo.

‘For me, it’s important BEN adds value to people within the automotive industry, while also supporting the industry itself. We want to do that by reducing absence, improving morale and improving production. Our mission is to provide support for life.’

Meanwhile, the charity has also announced that Peter Johnson has been named its new president. Peter is chair of Marshall Motor Group and at the RMIF.

He said, ‘I was honoured to become the new president of BEN. BEN is now in the midst of a massive change programme; it will still be at the heart of care, but will continue to evolve to meet the needs of the industry. Its focus and sole purpose is to support individuals wherever and whenever they need. About 80% of calls come from people who are working – our job is to get them healthy and back to work.

‘But knowledge is the key. We hope to succeed in making BEN part of the DNA of every company in our industry. We need employers and employees to know that support is totally free and easily accessible.’

Visit Ben’s new look site at or for more details about its mental wellness campaign, go to