A YOUNG Greenock man has bravely opened up about his mental health problems as he encourages other people to speak out.

Lewis McGachy, 22, has suffered from anxiety and says he recognises how important the support he received from other people proved to be.

He told the Tele he now feels confident enough to put himself forward to help other people.

Lewis said: “I have had experience with family and friends who have suffered with their mental health and I have suffered myself.

"I want people to know that they are not alone and that if they look for help they can get there and things can improve.

"It is a slow process but it is worth it."

As well as seeking help for himself, a big turning point for Lewis was speaking to his family and friends.

He said: “I have come quite far in a short space of time and I think it's partly down to my friends being so supportive.

“At the beginning of the year I opened up to my family and friends about how I was feeling and they were so supportive, which put me at ease."

Lewis has partnered up with SamH, who have helped other people he knows, to organise a sponsored walk in Greenock.

“I want to try and help people in any way I can because I know what it is like.

"Sometimes talking to a stranger and sharing your story is easier and I have time for anyone who is struggling with their mental health because you don’t have to go it alone.”

The walk will start from the Overton end of The Cut, stop at Cornalees and then go round the loch finishing at Whinhill Golf Course.

The event, which is open to everyone, is set for August 24 at 11am and Lewis is hoping for a good turnout.

He said: “I decided to organise a sponsored walk because walking helped me.

"It was a great way to clear my head.

“I have never organised anything like this before but I want people to be able to come along and know they are not alone.

"There will be people there who are struggling with their mental health and there will be others who are just there to show they care.

“People can share their story or just enjoy knowing that the platform of support is there for if and when they feel ready.

“Even if someone just goes and finds out a little more about mental health it will be a success.”

Michelle Grana, team lead for gateway services at SamH, today praised for Lewis for speaking out about his situation.

She said: “I am delighted that Lewis is hosting the fundraiser and is able to share his story.

“It is a big thing when a young male is willing to speak about his experience and work to be the person he wants to be.

“Lewis isn’t letting his struggles define him and is achieving what he wants to achieve.

"The more people who talk the less taboo speaking about mental health will become and we want to thank Lewis for sharing his story with us.”

Lewis has set up an online appeal so anyone who can’t make it along can donate by searching 'Lewis McGachy' on the JustGiving website.

All the money raised will be going to SamH and kept in Inverclyde to provide support for people struggling with their mental health.