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Man bounces back from breakdown by helping others

Andrew with his dog Kai
Andrew with his dog Kai Image credit: metro.co.uk

Andrew had had enough. Pointing a gun in his mouth he was about to end his life, fortunately not only is he still here to tell what happened afterwards, he’s now behind a support group to help others in similar situations.

Reliving the ordeal Andrew told Metro.co.uk: ‘I had lost 7 members of my family, I lost my home, stopped seeing my kids, my relationship broke down, and I was told I had lost a baby.

‘I ended up with drug and alcohol addiction trying to stop the voices but it didn’t – I had to – and could only do it again by fighting literally for my life.’

Knowing he had to sort himself out the dad from Glasgow checked in to a local hospital, but ended up in a heated argument with a fellow patient who stole some of his possessions.

That was the last straw for Andrew, he cut short his treatment and discharged himself.

‘I struggled each day, and it was sitting with my uncle Andy (who has recently passed away) I came to the conclusion I would go for a walk to raise awareness for men’s mental health and baby loss, as walking was helping my thought process,’ he revealed.

Setting himself an ambitious challenge Andrew planned to hike from Glasgow to Land’s End.

With only his dog Kai, for companionship Andrew decided to set up a Facebook group inviting people to meet up with him during his trek to exchange their experiences with mental health.

But his journey came to an abrupt end in Wigan where he had to check in to another hospital, this time for a leaking heart.

Under doctor orders he had to cancel the journey, the plan was to go for a second attempt this year, but then the COVID-19 pandemic happened.

Andrew said: ‘When I started walking south I never thought for a second it would grow the support it did, and that I’d also find people reaching out to me to help them with their mental health.

‘We have regular contact with folk struggling with mental health issues and continuing to support them and their families.’

Despite having to postpone his walk Andrew has been keeping busy over the past few months, he’s supported a man called Barry with his own sponsored walk from Land’s End to John o’ Groats and backed a campaign ensuing children across the Central Belt will receive presents on Christmas Day.

He said: ‘Coming out of lockdown, we will be looking to start walking therapy groups travelling to different places and involving as many as possible – and thanks to our sponsorship with Craghoppers we can provide everyone with what they need for the day.’

This story may had started with heart-breaking news, but it ends with a happier one, Andrew is expecting his seventh child with his new partner Debbie.

Talking about the blossoming relationship Andrew said: ‘We first met six years ago but separated for a number of years.

‘We have always maintained a friendship and when I was at my lowest she was still there waiting to offer support. We started seeing each other again last year.

‘It has been difficult for Debbie to learn the new broken me, but I love her and Debbie loves me, so we will be okay.’

He added: ‘I still worry I’m not good enough and don’t deserve what I’ve got and how my life is going, but I’ve got to listen to Debbie and my kids that I am worth it; listen to those who truly love me unconditionally.’

The Andrew’s Journey Facebook group has around 7,000 followers.