Former professional footballer and Arsenal legend Paul Merson will be visiting Grimsby this month to discuss his addiction and mental health issues.

Paul will join us as we host our Annual General Meeting and celebration at Grimsby Auditorium, demonstrating best practice, new projects and achievements in mental health services.

NAViGO Chief Executive Simon Beeton said: “We’re delighted that Paul is joining us for our annual celebration – which is a chance for us to say thanks to our staff and community members, meet with partners, review the past year and look to the future.

“We always like to take the opportunity to show that everyone’s personal mental health can be affected at any time – and we respect Paul’s openness about how, despite his many accomplishments, his addictions have affected his life and how they have fuelled his struggles with his mental health.”

A former professional footballer with Arsenal, Middlesbrough and Aston Villa, among others, Paul lived life to the full during his football career, had highs and lows, good times and bad times, however all the battles he faced on the pitch were nothing compared to those off it.

His many achievements in the game were accomplished despite a long battle with alcohol, drug and gambling addictions.

When he retired from football he carved out a successful career in the media with Sky television as a pundit on the Soccer Saturday Show and over recent years has talked candidly about how his drink, drug and gambling habits also fuelled his struggles with his mental health.

On the back of the announcement of our recent partnership, Grimsby Town will also be present with education trust chief executive Jo Schofield and former player Nathan Arnold joining a panel discussion on men’s mental health and the importance of the two organisations working together within the local North East Lincolnshire community.

NAViGO’s AGM - bringing together invited staff, service users, carers, partner agencies, community and other NHS trusts - will be held at the Grimsby Auditorium and live streamed via YouTube and the NAViGO website.