This is me and I suffer with anxiety

10/10/2019

My name is Kevin Robinson, I’m the chief operating officer of Safer Highways and I suffer with anxiety.

Anxiety is a strange thing; it is like the silent assassin that creeps up on you when you least expect it – suddenly reducing you to a shaking wreck for no logical reason.

For example, this week, me and one of my team were visiting Health and Safety North in Manchester – a journey I have done many times.

I got on the train as normal, had some food – as we do – and settled down to do some emails and reply to calls.

Then suddenly we hit Stockport and all of a sudden, I felt my chest tightening and I began to shake.

H&S North was just an event and we only had one meeting in the day with NEBOSH so nothing major or out of the ordinary but yet for some bizarre and unknown reason I suddenly felt that I wasn’t in control of my body and was existing in an ethereal universe.

Looking back there was nothing to cause this. After all, I engage with senior leaders on a daily basis and this was just another event, right?

Anxiety is a strange thing; it is like the silent assassin that creeps up on you when you least expect it – suddenly reducing you to a shaking wreck for no logical reason.

WRONG

Every time I step outside of my front door, even when we take the children on holiday, I find myself absolutely consumed by a real sense of nervousness. I feel like I am six inches from a heart this is what the experts call anxiety.

Am I normal or abnormal?

Twenty years ago, when mental health was something that no one talked about, I suffered a complete breakdown.

People around me helped and I thought I was ok; but really it was a sticking plaster over the Grand Canyon.

Then six years ago, I was lucky enough to be blessed with my first son.

It wasn’t an easy pregnancy and we came close to losing him twice.

At the time, there was little understanding from those around me about how difficult our pregnancy was – I don’t think if I asked anyone at that time to spell mental health they could have.

Six years on from that and having gone through hell (metaphorically) of having a second child, I feel I am in a different place.

So how do we rationalise this?

In short, we don’t.

We all have mental health in the same way that we have physical health.

If an employee came to you with a sprained wrist you would know how to treat it, do the necessary and put it in the accident book. Job done.

But what if you had somebody like me. Somebody who couldn’t actually face going to work – not because they were being lazy but because, actually, their life was falling apart in front of them but they came to you and told you that. what would you do?

You couldn’t write this into the accident book – it’s not RIDDOR reportable so does it really matter?

Well yes it does and equally as much as a burn or a cut.

So how do we deal with the issue?

Until now this has been personal. I have bared my soul in a way I never would have done before, but in truth this isn’t about me, or my anxiety, or my personal journey.

This is about what we as an industry can genuinely do to help our people.

In June, Safer Highways launched our Thriving at Work survey to enable organisations to honestly benchmark themselves against the Stevenson-Farmer report.

We know the issues around mental health won’t be fixed today (World Mental Health Day), but all we ask as an industry is that you are honest in appraising where you are.

There is no right or wrong.

This won’t win you a contract but for your people it’s the right thing to do and we hope you appreciate that and participate.

I have told you my story for world mental health day – and believe me that wasn’t easy. Now it’s your turn to listen to your people’s stories. Don’t pay lip service. Genuinely take that 5 minutes to listen.

Complete the Thriving at Work Survey

Latest Issue

latest magazine issue

Also Inside:

  • Traffex Parkex review
  • Round table: Mastering modern contracting
View the latest issue


Highways jobs

Highway Asset Principal (Performance & Information)

£44,624-£48,684
We're eager to find a compelling and persuasive individual to take advantage of this brand-new opportunity within our Highways Asset Team. Lancashire
Recruiter: Lancashire County Council

Inspector / Senior Inspector

£22,129 - £32,798 pa
Bradford Metropolitan District Council is seeking to recruit an Inspector/Senior Inspector to join the friendly Highway Maintenance Team Bradford, West Yorkshire
Recruiter: City of Bradford MDC

Assistant Contracts Manager

£29,184 to £32,389 - Plus market leading package (see below)
Derbyshire County Council are looking for an experienced Assistant Contract Manager Willington, Derbyshire
Recruiter: Derbyshire County Council

HGV Mechanic

£23,657 - £25,568 per annum – plus market leading package (see below)
We are looking for a highly motivated Heavy Goods Vehicle Mechanic to join our County Transport team. Brimington, Chesterfield
Recruiter: Derbyshire County Council

Procurement Programme Manager

£54,873 – £60,366
We have an exciting opportunity for a Procurement Programme Manager to join our team. Stratford, London (Greater)
Recruiter: East London Waste Authority (ELWA)

Team Leader LGV Driver

£22,571 - £25,419
An opportunity exists in the Council’s Street Scene Services for a Team Leader LGV Driver. Wakefield, West Yorkshire
Recruiter: Wakefield Council

Multi Skilled Operative

£20,444 - £22,129
We are seeking enthusiastic and capable colleagues to join our Highway Operations team. Wakefield, West Yorkshire
Recruiter: Wakefield Council

Transportation Planner

£35,336 - £39,571
A Transportation Planner is required for the analysis and monitoring of traffic, to design and undertake feasibility studies. Pembroke, Pembrokeshire (Sir Benfro)
Recruiter: Pembrokeshire County Council

Senior Technician

£27,514
We are looking to recruit a Senior Technician within the busy Structures team. Pontypridd, Rhondda Cynon Taf
Recruiter: Rhondda Cynon Taff County Borough Council

Senior Engineer

£36,371
We are looking to recruit a Senior Engineer within the Structures team. Pontypridd, Rhondda Cynon Taf
Recruiter: Rhondda Cynon Taff County Borough Council

Highways Transport Strategy and Development Manager

£52,848 - £64,998
This is a unique opportunity to join a newly formed unitary authority which is mobilising a new highways contract. Northampton, Northamptonshire
Recruiter: West Northamptonshire Council

Assistant Engineer

£27,514 to £29,174 per annum
A great opportunity has arisen for an enthusiastic and self-motivated individual to join our team Preston, Lancashire
Recruiter: Preston City Council

Highways Network Manager

£52,848 - £64,998
We are forming a new highways and transport team for West Northamptonshire Council Northampton, Northamptonshire
Recruiter: West Northamptonshire Council

Highways Service Manager (Commissioning & Contract Management)

£52,848 - £64,998
We are now looking to recruit a number of talented, motivated and innovative individuals. Northampton, Northamptonshire
Recruiter: West Northamptonshire Council

Principal Officer (Network Coordination)

£39,571 - £42,614
We are looking for experienced and well-motivated staff to help shape the future delivery of the service. Oxford, Oxfordshire
Recruiter: Oxfordshire County Council

Highways Development Manager

£44,624 per annum plus £3,000 Market Forces
We are actively recruiting for Highways Development Managers within the Environment & Transport Department Hertford, Hertfordshire
Recruiter: Hertfordshire County Council

Senior Highways Officer

£36,371 per annum plus £2,000 Market Forces
Hertfordshire truly is the County of Opportunity Hertford, Hertfordshire
Recruiter: Hertfordshire County Council

Senior Engineer (Highway Maintenance)

£33,486 - £42,614 per annum
Bradford Metropolitan District Council is seeking to recruit a Senior Engineer Keighley, West Yorkshire
Recruiter: City of Bradford MDC

Assistant Director Planning, Transportation and Highways

£88,896 - £100,749
We’re looking for a leader who can enable and unlock the potential of our teams, Bradford, West Yorkshire
Recruiter: City of Bradford MDC

Contracting Engineer

£33,513 - £37,588 pay award pending
We are passionate about Doncaster - it’s a great place to live, do business and visit. Doncaster, South Yorkshire
Recruiter: Doncaster Council

Highways Presents

 

Highways on Fridays

Register now!

Latest Video