Servicemen lined up today to pay tribute to a fallen comrade – while raising awareness of the need for more mental health support.
Kyle Robertson was “never the same” after his time in Afghanistan with the Royal Regiment of Scotland, during which he was shot by the Taliban.
The 28-year-old struggled with depression, anxiety and PTSD but despite reaching out for support, he was found dead at a friend’s house last month.
His mother Shona believes his death could have been avoided if he had received the support he needed.
Speaking ahead of the funeral at Baldarroch Crematorium at Crathes, she said her son had just wanted a “normal life” – and called for more help for veterans.
That call was echoed by Mr Robertson’s brothers-in-arms, who said more support must be given to prevent this from happening again.
The group gathered at Crathes Hall before the funeral, saluting the funeral cortege as it passed they bid Mr Roberston a final farewell as he made his way up to the crematorium.
Statistics showcase that young men need help
Unfortunately, Mr Robertson is just one of many ex-servicemen to suffer from mental health issues after leaving the armed forces.
In an article by the Mirror, it was reported that at least 25 former and serving personnel have taken their lives this year and more than 250 have died since 2018.
Veteran Andy Christie paid tribute to his friend “Robbo”, and said: “Kyle was a great friend and it is tragic to have lost him like this.
“I have seen too many people I know feel like they have no other choice, just a few weeks ago another friend, Bradley Allan who many will have known as the Anxiety Bloke also died.
“We run a group for veterans in Grampian and will support people who need it as much as we can, but more support needs to be available.”
Mr Christie’s group, Veterans support Grampian, is available to any serving or former servicemen and women to join.
The group managed to come together and provide a flower mural that sat above the coffin as it entered the crematorium.
‘If he had got help, he’d still be here’
Mr Robertson’s mother hopes that the show of solidarity at the funeral today, and speaking out, will encourage others to push for the support they need.
She said: “It’s heartbreaking because I think this could have been avoided if he had got the help he needed.
“After losing his job he received a benefits cheque for 14p – 14p to live on for the rest of the month, how was he supposed to manage that?
“I helped him as best I could with money for food and bills but he needed a lot of help, the help he didn’t get.
“If he had got the help he needed I honestly believe he would still be here today.
“He had talked about taking his own life before but had always said he couldn’t go through with it, I think it was just too much for him to cope with this time.”
Ms Robertson, from Aberdeen, called for a support system to be put in place for young people leaving the military.
“He didn’t like to talk about it but I know he had seen things if he had just had someone who he could talk to, someone who had lived the same life,” she said.
“If Andy and his group ever need anyone to help out and fundraise for young men like my son I’ll be there.”
If you are struggling and want to talk, Breathing Space is a free, confidential service that can be contacted on 0800 838 587.
Samaritans also offers a free and confidential emotional support service that never closes and can be reached on 116 123 or by emailing email@example.com