Hundreds will walk to end mental health stigma

Chris mccullough you (centre) leading a walk a mile event in glasgow

Chris McCullough Young (centre) leading a Walk a Mile event in Glasgow

​Walkers assemble to end mental health stigma 

31st May 2016 by Robert Armour 2 Comments

Hundreds of people are set to take over Inverness in an event to tackle mental health discrimination.

Birchwood Highlands is aiming to bring together people from different backgrounds to share a mile in each other’s shoes, and chat about mental health.

The Walk a Mile event is based on the amazing efforts of activist Chris McCullough Young.

After being diagnosed with borderline personality disorder the former social worker 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.

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

Now Chris and Birchwood Highland, along with national anti-stigma programme See Me, Befrienders Highland, NHS Highland, HUG (Action for Mental Health), Paths for All, Step It Up Highland and Scottish Waterways Trust are aiming to put on one of the biggest Walk a Mile events yet, following events in Glasgow, Edinburgh and Renfrewshire.

The aim of the event, on 11 June, is to bring together health professionals, carers, people with lived experience, students, anyone who cares about tackling mental health discrimination, to break down barriers as they walk a mile in each other’s shoes.

The walk will be led by local piper Liam Eaton, and the event will also feature street artist Nick Innes, performing with fire, juggling and doing some magic for the crowds.

It’s about breaking down prejudice and seeing how fabulous people are - Chris McCullough Young

Chris said: “The idea of Walk a Mile is to get people who don’t normally talk to each other, who stigmatise against each other, and that goes both ways from professionals towards people with mental health problems and the other way around, to share a mile in each other’s shoes.

“It’s about breaking down prejudice and seeing how fabulous people are.”

See Me community champion Carolyn Henderson, from Foyers, said: “We are aiming to try and attract all age groups and abilities which is why there is the fun and music, talking about mental health does not need to be gloomy and stressful.

“People with mental health illness can often have a more positive approach to life than those that don't because we are often taught this in our treatment, something that people without mental health illness might not get the opportunity to learn.”

Paulina Duncan Birchwood, Highlands network manager, said: “As the leading mental health organisation in the Highlands, Birchwood Highland is committed to doing all we can to bust mental health stigma and discrimination.

“With one in four of us experiencing mental health issues this should be a very natural thing to talk about. We believe that by organising awareness raising events like this one, each time we are getting a step closer to achieving this aim.”

See Me’s community programme manager, Eleanor Ogilvie, said: “We are delighted to see Walk a Mile coming to Inverness for the biggest walk we have seen in the area and we want people to join us from all over the Highlands.

“It’s so important that people, especially those in more rural areas, are able to come together and speak about mental health in a safe space.”

The walk will starts at 11am from the corner of Bught Part beside Ballifeary House and people will start gathering at 10.45am. 

31st May 2016 by Stuart

This is a fantastic story and event - congratulations and well done to everyone who is taking part.For any ladies aged 16 yrs + who love walking you might be interested in how Falkirk's Mental Health Association is taking this walking lark one step further!! (Get it one step further!! LOL)Anyway we have organised 2 gentle walks up Ben Nevis in July 2016 to promote mental health and raise awareness of our work supporting 2500 local people in Falkirk every year. So far 460 ladies have signed up with is just amazing.We still have a handful of places left so if you (and your friends) want to bag the highest mountain in UK please go to and check out how to registerGood luck to everyone showing their passion, commitment and support for mental health services

31st May 2016 by Harold A. Maio

---Hundreds will walk to end mental health stigmaNot to educate people who direct that prejudice? They are the real issue. One does not help by lending them or their prejudice credence.