The Big Conversation Logo round

That’s why Safer Highways, through our ‘Road to Wellbeing’ programme are proud to partner with industry leading organisations to drive forward the agenda around awareness of the various triggers of poor mental health through our “Big Conversation” events.The latest of these will be held, as most events are in the wave of the current pandemic, in a virtual space but with the hope that the evening will take place in front of a small, hand-picked and socially distanced audience on 12th May 2021 – live from the Kennington Film Studios in London.


To be hosted by Karl Simons OBE, Chief Health, Safety and Securities officer of Thames Water, and the Safer Highways lead on its ground-breaking mental health programme, the event will feature a list of household names and industry professionals having a series of one to one open and honest conversations about their own personal struggles with various contributory factors to poor mental health.


These will range from physical events such as dealing with grief, Bipolar disease and post-natal depression as well as serving as the first public-facing unveiling of a report into the findings of the first six months of the One Million Lives.


In its first three months, One Million Lives has had over 5,500 individuals complete its check in. Featuring a series of self-help tools as well as signposts for those who feel they are in need of further help the One Million Lives website ( also acts as a conduit for those who simply wish to benchmark where they sit on the mental health equilibrium to do so anonymously and without fear of prejudice. 


Speaking about the event, Global VP of Health and Safety at Jacobs, Paul Hendy said,


“We launched One Million Lives with the aim of truly making a difference in the space of Mental Health. To do this we all need to place our arms on each others shoulders, and link hands to face the considerable challenges ahead.Covid-19 has placed an immense strain on every individuals wellbeing and this event is designed to show all of those across the world engaging with us that you are not alone, there are things you can do and places you can go for support.”



Also speaking at the launch of the event, Kevin Robinson, CEO of Safer Highways spoke of his pride at being asked to be involved. He said,


“For a number of years both Jacobs and Safer Highways alongside our industry partners have been working in tandem to raise the stand of provision of support around mental health in the workplace.Our own Thriving at Work survey enabled employers to do this and then last year through One Million Lives we now have a tool to enable individuals to do this – both with no cost.Our next challenge on the journey is to raise awareness and get individuals to truly feel comfortable with opening up about their own struggles.The collective aim of this event is to precisely that by using industry professionals and household names in the hope that we inspire others to speak out.”

Mental Health is vitally important to all employers, but in the midst of a global pandemic, ensuring we are seen to be leading the provision of support around the subject is more vital than ever.





Chief Health, Safety & Wellbeing Officer, Thames Water

Chairing this event is Karl Simons. With a background in HM Armed Forces and having served in multiple conflicts, Karl is presently the Chief Health, Safety & Wellbeing Officer at Thames Water.



Actress, Acting Manager at SEED Eating Disorders Support Services

Gemma Oaten, an actress who hosts a list of credits across leading BBC and ITV programmes has been a long time sufferer of anorexia, in a frank and honest talk she explains the triggers and impact this has had on her personal life.



Public Figure

Jeff is Father to both Freddie and Bobby with his late partner Jade Goody who sadly died of breast cancer. Jeff openly speaks of how his sons have struggled with the grief his children suffered and has written his own book “Grief Survival Guide.”



CEO of MHFA England

As CEO of MHFA England Simon has been at the forefront of leading the revolution around perceptions of mental health in the UK.He also sadly recently lost his mother to cancer and as such has had to deal with his own inner demons around grief.



Two time Olympic Gold Medalist

After a glittering career and subsequently giving birth to her daughter Becky admitted to the media suffering from depression post swimming about how she struggled to deal with no longer being a High Performing athlete.


Two time Olympic Hurdler

Jack Green is a two time Olympic Hurdler. Jack has been very open about his struggles with depression during his time as part of the UK athletics elite performance programme and indeed took time out between both the 2012 and 2016 Olympics to be kind to himself .



Lead Ops Controller, Amey

As a former prison officer, Jamie experienced a 10 year journey with Bipolar which resulted in a spell in prison. He has since rebuilt his life and despite personal challenges such as a marriage break up he is now a mental health ambassador for Amey and also speaks openly about his struggles in the hope of helping others.



Public Figure

Stephen Fry has experienced mental health problems for much of his life. But it wasn't until he was 37 that he was finally diagnosed with bipolar disorder. "I'd never heard the word before, but for the first time I had a diagnosis that explains the massive highs and miserable lows I've lived with all my life."



Public Figure

Television and radio presenter Fearne Cotton, formerly of Radio 1, has spoken about her mental health for years, regularly opening up about anxiety, depression and learning to cope with panic attacks.


Public Figure

Frankie Bridge is one celebrity who has always been refreshingly honest about her mental health, regularly speaking out about her lifelong battle with anxiety, depression and panic attacks.