Glasgow dad speaks out on mental health battle at launch of new app for teens

A Glasgow father, who has struggled mentally during the pandemic, has helped launch a new app for teenagers facing similar battles.

As Scotland was plunged into its first lockdown, Gary Goldie’s life changed completely.

The personal trainer’s job has come to a halt as he admits he is ‘not dealing with’ the lack of routine, boredom and fear his loved ones will catch the deadly virus just fine.

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Late nights and more regular drinking hampered the 35-year-old’s home life as he and his wife, Leigh, 34, had their hands full looking after two children under the age of three year.

While Gary points out that he “never reached a crisis point”, he knew “something had to change” and contacted Brothers in Arms (BIA).

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The Glasgow-based men’s mental health charity has its own app which offers tips, programs and advice on cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and meditation, as well as individual therapy sessions and a forum to chat with other users of the service.

Grateful for the support he received, Gary got involved with the organization and, alongside other volunteers, helped launch a follow-up version of the app, specifically aimed at teenagers.

Gary Goldie says although he was never ‘at crisis point’, the Brothers in Arms adult app helped him during lockdown

He said Glasgow Live“Promoting the app and sharing my story I think is a great way to give back when BIA has done so much for me.

“I’ve never been in crisis but I knew I had to do something with my mental health and the app was great during lockdown when everyone was stuck at home.

“Since then I have helped spread the word with Brothers and Arms, we have been invited to many schools and youth groups.

“The original app is for adults only, so we felt there was a gap to fill; somewhere for teenagers to go.

“That’s how the idea for the app was born.”

Similar to the adult app, Scottish teenagers can download it for free and chat on its forum, access programs and advice related to anger management, relaxation, meditation and CBT.

Gary laments that teenage mental health issues in Glasgow, and indeed Scotland, are “on the rise”.

Brothers In Arms is an organization that aims to help men struggling with poor mental health
Brothers In Arms is an organization that aims to help men struggling with poor mental health

He added: “Teenage life is different these days. People seem to be more image conscious in the age of social media.

“Young people seem much more susceptible to anxiety and depressive thoughts. Suicide rates are also increasing.

“With men in general, there’s always such a stigma when it comes to talking about how you feel. With an app, you can access help and be completely anonymous. Users don’t have no need to show up to a group session which might make them feel embarrassed, they can get help from their own home.

“It’s a low hurdle that seems doable and could lead to getting more in-person help.”

According to statistics from the BIA, an estimated one in four Scots suffer from a mental health condition, with one in three young people turned away for specialist mental health support during the pandemic.

For more information about BIA and the work they do, as well as how to download the app from Apple Podcasts and Spotify, head over to their website.

You can contact the Samaritans 24 hours a day, 7 days a week on 116 123 or by visiting their website.

Jennifer C. Burleigh