MENTAL health issues have prompted Spanish car maker SEAT to team up with the Campaign Against Living Miserably charity to put special help stickers inside its cars.
All new SEATs will now come with a QR code fixed to the inside of the driver's sun vizor which takes users to a specially-designed page on the suicide prevention organisation's website.
The initiative follows research that shows almost nine in 10 people revealed they see driving as a way to improve their mental health.
Pressures caused by the covid pandemic have seen nearly 60 per cent of motorists admitting to temporarily leaving their home to de-stress and 90 per cent saying that being able to drive their car has had a positive impact on their mental health.
Richard Harrison, managing director of SEAT UK,said:"With our longstanding mental health partner, CALM, we wanted to play a small part in helping people to quickly access support when they need it.
"The new 'SOS' feature should make it that little bit easier to have someone to talk to, especially because so many people see the car as a place of refuge. It is definitely a case of ‘being silent isn't being strong', so we encourage people to speak to their friends and family or seek professional advice."
Some 90 per cent of respondents in the mental health survey said they have driven their car to clear their head at some point during 2020 and 46 per cent said they did so on a weekly basis.
Three quarters of younger drivers aged between 18 and 24 felt their car had been a positive influence on their mental health during the pandemic, the most of any age group, while this was the case for just half of over 55s.
If the pilot scheme is successful SEAT plans to make the service a permanent feature in its vehicles.
Simon Gunning, chief executive at CALM,said:"From CALM's helpline number to expert advice on how to have a conversation with someone you're worried about, CALM and SEAT have teamed up to put people in the driving seat when it comes to helping themselves and others.
"Life is full of twists and turns. Sometimes we stall. And sometimes we need time to put the brakes on and take some time for ourselves. But no matter what you're going through CALM's helpline and webchat is here to provide free, anonymous and confidential support, 365 days a year, 5pm until midnight."
The partnership between CALM and SEAT was established two years ago, with previous collaborations including the ‘Grow a Pair (of ears)' campaign, which encouraged everyone to talk and listen to their friends to help support better mental health.