Big Boys Don’t Cry: Men Gear up for Daily Battle

A film exploring the mental health struggles facing men has been launched by a group of burly airsoft ‘soldiers’ in a Dundee park today (Monday 16 September 2019).

‘Daily Battle’ is one of six films being released by local charity Front Lounge on the run-up to World Mental Health Day on 10 October 2019.

Pic – Alan Richardson,
Michael Elliott from Foolish Optimism: Hope in Action, alongside Airsoft players from Viperstrike who took part in the film.


The film, which features the voices and stories of men struggling with their mental health, is part of a suite of films entitled Foolish Optimism: Hope in Action which follows on from the release of Foolish Optimism this time last year. The film coincided with a 26-stop national roadshow, aimed at sparking more discussion of mental health throughout Scotland. The theme of the film was sparked by Dundee-based Michael Elliott, part of the Foolish Optimism working party and a regular at Viper Strike Airsoft Dundee, near Tealing.

Airsoft is a competitive team shooting sport in which participants shoot opponents with replica air weapons. Viper Strike offers an immersive live battlefield experience on a former RAF base near Tealing, with regular, organised ‘skirmishes’ for all skill levels. Michael approached owner David Fletcher to make a film on the premises, exploring the mental health challenges facing some of the men who attend the club, some of whom are ex-military and struggling with PTSD.

Michael, who has been attending the club on a fortnightly basis since the start of the year said, “Viper Strike is like one big family, we’re all friends and regularly sit and talk about our mental health. Nothing is off limits and there’s no judgement. No man wants to be seen as weak and there’s often that fear that, if you open up, you’re seen as less of a man. There’s been a stigma around this for too long but groups like this, which encourage men to talk about their feelings, are playing a huge part in reversing that and that’s making a big difference to people’s lives. I hope the film will encourage men to open up a bit more, and to maybe see more groups of men meeting up regularly to chat things through, wherever that may be.”

David Fletcher added, “When we set up Viper Strike, we didn’t realise how much of a community spirit would form but we’re just like one big family, and it’s really brought people together, especially men.

“When you’re playing airsoft, everyone’s equal, you’re part of a team and a real sense of community has grown out of that. It may not seem like an activity that the ex-military would want to take part in, especially those who are suffering, but it’s like a fun version of real warfare, with the added bonus of being able to open up about the challenges life’s throwing at us all. Yes, we essentially look like soldiers but we’re all human, and can be as fragile and vulnerable as anyone else. Airsoft also appeals to the gaming community who might otherwise be pretty isolated in their gaming, playing at home, whereas airsoft brings people together, gets them out socialising, exercising and having fun which makes a real difference to their mental health. That’s why we were so pleased to get involved in the film – yes, we’re a business but helping each other out is worth way more than any amount of money!”

For more information, and to watch the film, please visit or

For more information about Viper Strike Airsoft Dundee, telephone David Fletcher on 07925 372 683 or email

For support in dealing with mental health issues please visit:


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