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Footballer visits Institute in bid to strike down mental health barriers

FORMER Grimsby Town footballer Nathan Arnold was aiming to “give something back” with a series of mental health awareness sessions at Grimsby Institute.

Nathan, who is now plying his trade at Lincoln City, discussed his own battle with anxiety with learners as part of the Mental Health Awareness Week workshops.

“It wasn’t designed this way, I never really liked public speaking and it wasn’t an avenue I wanted to take,” he explained.

“I feel it’s my duty now to share my experiences with other people and give them support and structure to help overcome their anxieties, depression or other issues around mental health.

“With it being Mental Health Week it’s a perfect time to share these messages and I’m in such a privileged position to be able to do so and have that impact.”

Describing the learners’ reaction as “incredible”, he added: “These guys are all here for different reasons, but hopefully they can resonate with some of the content I’m sharing.

“Ultimately though it’s not about me. It’s not about Nathan Arnold the footballer, it’s not about the ego. It’s about me giving back to other people.

“I’m just truly grateful to be invited to places like the Institute to talk, because I can help and instigate and inspire this positive movement and this shift into a new way of thinking.

“I’m so grateful that people have come out today and shown this support, but also hopefully they can take something with them they can implement in their own lives too.”

Nathan also discussed Lincs2Nepal, an “amazing” charity he said he “can’t help but back”.

“I went out in April for 16 days and it truly blew my mind; it was an amazing experience.

“People can sponsor a child, and every single penny goes towards education and a better way of life.

“There’s also an opportunity for people who may feel they need to escape and travel the world. Lincs 2 Nepal are open to allow people to come and share that life experience.”

Steve Orient, BA Creative Music Tutor and Programme Leader for Level 3 Music, organised the visit after meeting Nathan through his son.

“We live in Lincoln, so my son got to know Nathan from going to the football and meeting him before game.

“He was being bullied at school so opened up to Nathan about it, and he’s been a huge support to him.

“It’s fantastic for our learners to have such a positive role model here, talking about believing in yourself and how to achieve, no matter the field.”

Hospitality learner Ben Bell (18) and Oliver Ross (17) from Engineering attended the talk together.

“I’ve found it really interesting,” said Ben. “It’s opened up so many doors and shown there is light at the end of the tunnel.

“When Nathan was at Grimsby he was one of my favourite players, so really respect what he’s saying.”

Oliver added: “It’s nice to see a public figure doing so much for charity. He’s so much more about football; he really tries to help people too.”