A WEST FIFE teenager who beat the bullies is preparing to raise awareness of mental health in young people with a double marathon challenge.

Heather Pollock, from Rosyth, has set herself the goal of running not one, but TWO marathon distances – covering a total of 52 miles – throughout May in support of the Young Minds charity.

The organisation aims to offer help for children and young people, and their parents, who are suffering with their mental health and Heather, 15, wanted to help after being affected previously by bullying at secondary school.

She was on the receiving end of a number of cruel taunts and her dad, Billy, admitted that it was "heartbreaking" for him and wife Nina to see their daughter subjected to them.

But, after receiving support from both her parents and teachers at school, Heather – who is planning on writing books aimed at both primary and high school youngsters on the effects of bullying – wants to use her experiences to help others seek support if needed.

"Because it was hard to ignore it, I started to believe it," she said.

"It was hard being the only one that they would target. I would go to school and think what might happen today.

"A lot of the time I would speak to my parents; as soon as something happened, I would speak to them as soon as possible, and not keep it bottled up. I was fortunate to be close to two teachers, whose classroom I could go and study and nobody knew where I was.

"If I was struggling and needed to speak to them, I was able to do that too."

With a school counsellor also available to offer support, Heather began to think of those who may not have such avenues to assist – leading her to run for Young Minds.

"I want people to know there is support there," she continued.

"Even if they don't want to be specifically contacted, there is so much information on the website and social media that, as much as you might feel alone, there is bits of advice you can take from it."

Heather, who cites listening to music – her choice being that of Little Mix, who have spoken out about mental health – as important in helping with mental health, has fundraised for charity before.

Alongside younger sibling Grace, she raised more than £1,000 for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF) four years ago by completing 165 walks in a year, and has taken part in Cancer Research UK's Race for Life.

She added: "I want to do a marathon when I'm older but decided I wanted to do a lot of charity fundraising this year.

"It's a bit of a challenge for me. I am reasonably fit, and I do love athletics, so I thought I would tie them all together."

Billy added: "She suffered quite badly from first year. A lot of it was because people perceived Heather to be different. She always wanted to study and do well and, because she is dyslexic, has had to have additional help and support, which made her stand out a little bit.

"It is absolutely heartbreaking to see your daughter go through that. As parents, you think why is this happening?

"Nina and I, as her mum and dad, are very proud of what she's doing."

At the time of writing, Heather had almost reached her £500 fundraising target, and you can donate by visiting https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/nina-pollock1.