Scottish film-maker hopes app can beat despair that killed her father

Sophie Robertson with her father Wallace
Sophie Robertson with her father Wallace
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A grieving daughter who lost her father to suicide is campaigning to raise awareness of a new app launched to help men who are struggling with their mental health.

Sophie Robertson’s father Wallace took his life a few days before his 50th birthday three years ago.

The 24-year-old, who runs her own social media management company, has made a video with the charity Brothers in Arms called Left Behind: A Daughter’s Story in which she tells the story of her devastating loss.

In the video Robertson says: “I try not to think about his death… I just try and think about the life he lived.”

Brothers in Arms was launched in 2017 as an awareness-raising website to represent men in Scotland and to start the conversation about male suicide – the single biggest killer of men in the UK under the age of 45.

The charity’s newest app will form part of a wider digital media strategy to connect with vulnerable males. It aims to help men deal with stress by supporting them and teaching a range of coping strategies from relaxation techniques to helping them achieve their goals.

Speaking ahead of World Suicide Prevention Day on Tuesday, Robertson, from Grangemouth, said: “It’s OK not to be OK.

“Let’s talk about it. Mental health is nothing to be ashamed of.

“I look at it in the same way as I’d look at a physical illness.

“I want to share my experience in the hope it helps other people and when the video came out it was viewed by 18,000 people, which isn’t a huge amount, but I got so many messages of support.”

Robertson is a mental health activist who speaks at events around the country with her mother Caroline and has run two half-marathons to raise funds.

She said she was sad her father would now never get to meet her partner and see her younger sister Emily leave to start university today.

Robertson said: “My dad had a mental breakdown, one of the worst things to see.

“He was this big rugby guy and I didn’t see him cry until he got unwell and I wish he had let that go years before.

“Because of that I’m determined to break the stigma around mental health and I wish he was able to speak about how he was feeling before he became unwell.

“But he’s from a generation of men who tend not to talk about their feelings.

“I speak about this in my video and I’m happy to share my story in the hope that I can make a difference, even if it’s just to help one other person. That would be enough for me.

“I think younger men are starting to speak about their emotions, but older men still aren’t.

“Younger men have told me that they’re quite happy to talk about their emotions and they want to tell their friends about how they’re feeling. It’s starting the conversation.”