A TROON lad sporting a handlebar moustache has helped inspire positive change around mental health after overcoming his own ‘crippling anxiety’ to help his mates through lockdown.

For Michael Ellis, this Movember was a time to get guys “talking and moving” after noticing the negative impact the coronavirus pandemic was having on their mental health.

The 24-year-old took on his third year of the challenge of growing a tache for the cause but this year he has raised more than £1,000 for men’s mental health through running every day throughout November.

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Michael, who is also working with the Movember campaign this year, told the Advertiser: “I’m passionate about raising awareness for men’s mental health after my own experience.

“When I was 20, I was in my second year of university in Edinburgh I started to have constant panic attacks every day, it went on for about a month. I didn’t know what was happening, but I went to the doctor and he diagnosed me with generalised anxiety disorder.

“I decided to move home to have the support network of my parents around me.

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“I’d been crippled with anxiety, but I focused on keeping fit, going to the gym and running which really helped me get it under control.

“I found that speaking to my pals about it really helped me, when you voice those anxious thoughts then you take them away from your own head.

The former Marr College pupil said: “It has been an eye opener for a lot of people who have maybe never felt that way before.

“Everyone’s mental health has taken a real bashing with all that has happened, so I wanted to get people talking and get people moving. That is what really helped me.”

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Michael says his WhatsApp group chats with pals have become “counselling sessions”,.

He added: “Men are a lot worse at expressing their feelings and chatting to their friends, but I hope by telling my story others will be inspired too.”

Michael brought friends from all over the world and in Troon got together throughout the month as they ran 5k and had a chat either virtually or socially distanced.

A group of his pals in Troon all got involved growing their own impressive moustaches and Michael’s three brothers and dad also got involved in Movember.

He added: “We had a decent community of guys in Troon who got involved.

“We managed to raise £1,100 which is just brilliant.”

You can still donate to Michael’s fundraiser at: https://uk.movember.com/mospace/13871894