ACTOR and Twitter fan Stephen Fry has praised a Glasgow man for a candid blog about his 14-year battle with depression.

Mark Pacitti's online diary, Dancing with the Black Dog, has been read by more than 50,000 people world-wide.

He has also received Twitter encouragement from Fry and former Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd.

Mark, 42, who is originally from Scotstoun but now lives in Melbourne, Australia, says he is on a one-man mission to "completely eradicate" the stigma of mental illness which affects an estimated one in three.

In the blog, he writes about the difficulties people with mental illness face during Christmas, a time when there is a pressure to be 'happy.'

He said: "With so much focus on perfect presents and a plethora of parties, Christmas can be an especially challenging time for anyone doing battle with the 'black dog'.

"There seems to be such an expectation for everyone to be sporting smiles the size of Santa sacks and proclaiming endless joy to the world.

"Speaking from experience, those who don't feel so joyful within their own inner world do feel added pressure to not put a dampener on the festivities for those around them.

"Christmas shines a spotlight on the fact that they think something is "wrong" with them."

However Mark, who is married with two children, has described how a random act of kindness helped him cope, at the height of his illness 14 years ago.

He said: "I walked past a small, charity Christmas tree in the foyer at work.

"It was decorated with brightly-coloured labels, and written on each label was the name of a child, their age, and their wish list of presents.

"All these children came from poorer families in town, unlikely to receive what they wanted for Christmas. Unless, that is, someone picked their label off the tree, bought the presents on their list, and left them under the tree for the charity to deliver.

"I picked off one of the labels as I headed out for lunch one day. On it was written the name David. He was 12-years- old, and his wish list included a football, a cricket bat and some T-shirts.

"By the time I was fed and watered and back at my desk, I had also bought and wrapped David's presents, and left them under the tree.

"I'm not suggesting that random acts of anonymous kindness are a one-stop cure for mental illness. But they are a start; their healing power should never be underestimated."