In 2008, when he was a social work manager, Chris found himself becoming distant from people and no longer knew who he was. He was taken out of work and diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD).

After receiving the diagnosis Chris noticed people’s behaviour towards him changing.

He said: “My manager told me I was too nice to have BPD, it’s like saying ‘you’re too nice to have a broken leg.’ “I had a psychiatrist. I told her, ’I’ve found a group of people with BPD who meet up socially. She said ‘no you must stay away from them they are very sick people’. I thought, hey, I resemble that. ” After hearing on the radio that 90 per cent of people wouldn’t knowingly invite someone with a mental health problem into their home, Chris thought, “I can turn this around.” Now, having vowed to do just that, the former social worker has walked round the edge of Scotland with no money, taking only a backpack and a tent, to change the way people think about mental health.

The 50-year-old set off from his home with a just few packs of Supernoodles, a first aid kit and a sturdy pair of boots, with the sole aim of tackling the stigma towards mental health.

Relying entirely on the hospitality of the people he met along the way, Chris made it all the way around Scotland, going through Argyll, Dunbartonshire and Renfrewshire, and has now got as far as Wales.

While on the walk he spoke to hundreds of people about mental health, and succeeded in changing people’s attitudes and perceptions ‘one conversation at a time’.

Now he’s joined with See Me, Scotland’s programme to end mental health discrimination, to bring together hundreds of people to walk with him down Edinburgh’s Royal Mile on September 3. To create Scotland’s biggest ever conversation to tackle mental health stigma they want people from Renfrewshire to register to join them, and hundreds of others making a difference.

Chris first experienced mental health problems when he was 12, following the death of his mother. At the time he found a lack of support, inspiring him to become a social worker, so he could be there for others.

He said: “In 2011 I decided to walk around the edge of the UK, as that is where people with mental health problems often feel like they are, in the margins. It’s the world’s biggest metaphor.

“You get this incredible kindness as you go around. People offered me a place to stay without even knowing my name.

“On day one, as I got over the Forth Road Bridge a woman saw me in my kilt carrying a big rucksack and trailer and she said ‘what on earth are you doing?’ “I told her what I was doing and she gave me £10 for dinner.” While in Crimmond, near Inverness, Chris was taken in by a man called Kenny. After having dinner and watching the World Cup together, Chris pitched his tent up in his garden. However in the morning when he woke he realised he was in a communal garden, outside a neighbour’s door, and Kenny had left for work.

Chris said: “With that the door opens and this woman in her mid 60s was stood there, I thought she was scowling at me.

“Instead she said ‘I have run you a bath, I was wondering if you wanted any bubbles in it?’ “The reaction has been 100 per cent positive. The worst I get is people saying, ‘you don’t look like one’ when speaking about mental health.

“From my experience it won’t take much of a shove for people to realise that other people are fabulous.” To help that “shove”, Chris and See Me want to bring together hundreds of professionals, carers and people with lived experience, who may unknowingly stigmatise each other, to walk together down the Royal Mile, breaking down barriers as they walk a mile in each other’s shoes.

Judith Robertson, See Me programme director, said: “Tackling the stigma towards mental health is vitally important and Chris’ incredible action has done so much to change the attitudes of those he has met.

“This was an amazing feat and one that has inspired us, and has inspired hundreds of others to join us on September 3rd.” Walk a Mile will begin at 6pm on Johnstone Terrace, at the top of the Royal Mile. You can register to take part at the event, or find out more about walking a virtual mile online, at