A DUNFERMLINE man has beaten depression by getting back to nature and is now helping others struggling with their own mental health issues.

Lee Sutherland swapped bars and nightclubs for the great outdoors after his doctor recommended taking in some fresh air as one method of combating poor mental health.

The change has been radical for the 36-year-old, who rebuilt his self-confidence from completing hiking challenges and taking up photography as a way of documenting his journey.

Lee, who works for Sofology, told the Press: "I had a bout of of mental health challenges a couple of years ago and when I went to my doctor, he prescribed me some medication but he also advised me to try and get outdoors.

"I challenged myself and went on solo camping trips in the wild and climbed Munros.

"I found it alleviated my mental health problems and inspired me to go out more.

"I starting posting photos of my adventures, encouraging people to do the same and enjoy what's out there, and I have gained quite a following.

"I would encourage anyone just to go out there and start challenging themselves and start off at your own walking pace.

"When you take the time to notice what's out there, there is so much beauty and it helps with mindfulness.

"The more you look, the more you tend to see!"

Depression was circumstantial for Lee after going through some difficult times in his personal life. It left him with his confidence at rock bottom and he reached out to his GP to get help.

He continued: "I was not an outdoor person!

"I enjoyed going out to nightclubs, bars and festivals so my life is very different now!

"I think the turning point for me was when I went on a trip to Glencoe and I was sitting on the top of a mountain looking across to all the other peaks and valleys.

"I knew it was what I needed to do to improve my mental health and I've just kept going.

"I took photos on my phone but I just knew it didn't do it justice so I invested in a camera and I get a lot of enjoyment just from the photos themselves.

"A lot of people have got outdoors this year and I think it is a testament to the power of the outdoors that has helped people get through this time."

Lee's change in lifestyle has led to him setting up a walking group with friends who all try to get outdoors at a weekend.

He is also trained as mental health first trainer at work.

"It's great to get out with others and encourage them in their challenges," Lee said.

"I'm also grateful to help out at work and I know because of my experience I can look out for the signs."

Lee is also hoping to take his photography further and has approached galleries to see if he can share his work as another tool for inspiring people to get outdoors.

"It would be great to get an exhibition and I want to set up a website as I have recently started selling some prints," he revealed.

"The funds will take me on the next adventure ... hopefully the Italian Dolomites sometime soon!

"I'm so grateful that the outdoors has helped me build up my confidence again and bring these new experiences into my life."