Merson: “It’s an illness. I used to think I was a bad person, I’d drink and gamble a lot and I didn’t want to but I kept on doing it and ending back at the same place. It made me think ‘this can’t be right, I’m not that bad of a person’.”
Paul Merson opened up on his struggles with mental health on The Debate, alongside Jamie O’Hara and Clinton Morrison.
It came after the FA Cup third-round weekend, where kick-off times were delayed by a minute for the Football Association’s ‘Heads Up’ mental health campaign.
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The extra 60 seconds was aimed at asking fans to take the time to think about themselves or a friend who may be struggling with mental health.
Merson recently revealed that he had considered suicide a year ago as he struggled with his own addictions, and elaborated on this further on The Debate.
“It’s an illness. I used to think I was a bad person, I’d drink and gamble a lot and I didn’t want to but I kept on doing it and ending back at the same place. It made me think ‘this can’t be right, I’m not that bad of a person’,” he said.
“But when I found out it was an illness, I had an illness, I talk to people now when I do feel down. I don’t look at my phone ring and think ‘I’m not going to talk to them today’, I make sure I pick that phone up. It’s so important.
“People have to understand that they’re not bad people and that’s the thing people beat themselves up about it and they don’t talk. The most important thing is to talk – you have to.”