Paramedic trolled for posting ‘proud picture’ in NHS uniform hits back at the cyber bullies
It was one of many images posted during the height of the coronavirus paramedic, of frontline staff proud to be doing their bit and grateful for the appreciation they were receiving.
But for newly-qualified paramedic Laura Heath, the reaction became unexpected and unwelcome.
The 24 year-old from Staffordshire stirred an astonishing backlash of abuse from online trolls, who called her vain and commented on her ‘excessive’ make-up.
She said: "I posted the picture because it was my personal profile and sometimes I do post pictures of myself, either in uniform or not uniform.
"I felt low in confidence. I had a proud moment where I wanted to post a photo in uniform just saying I was proud of my job really and what I do.
"People were being really supportive, I had lots of compliments and I really appreciated that.
“But slowly I got a backlash of hate and abuse, people commenting on my make-up, my appearance, saying I was the reason for the death toll rising, saying that they wouldn't get treated by someone looking like me, which was really hurtful.”
Laura said the trolls online ‘took her confidence and happiness for some time’ and that she began to suffer with depression.
“I felt as though no matter how good of a person I tried to be or how much I try and be myself, I was never good enough and there was always something to be picked at.
“I have spent too many nights doubting myself feeling upset and worthless over the comments from people who have never met me.”
It was then she discovered the Cybersmile Foundation, an organisation which supports those affected by cyberbullying and campaigns for the internet to be a safe environment.
And in recognition of their help, and to mark today’s World Mental Health Day, Laura is confronting another of her fears - she’s petrified of heights’ - by flinging herself out of a plane for a charity skydive.
She added: “I am doing this jump for anyone who has felt like their not good enough as a result of social media.
"I am petrified of heights and I do not like flying so I am really facing my fears although I am hoping by doing this, I make the world a little bit of a better place. In a world where we can be anything, be kind.”