Marcus Hahnemann helped Everton in the Community celebrate World Mental Health Day on Monday when he visited a football tournament staged by the Club's official charity.
The American custodian went to Greenbank Sports Academy meeting men who live with mental health problems who are part of Everton in the Community's Imagine Your Goals programme.
Hahnemann conducted a question and answer session with the participants and discussed mental health issues in professional support.
And the former Reading and Wolves keeper says mental health is an important topic to tackle.
"There's a belief that mental health is a sign of weakness and to admit to having a problem and talking to someone is something you could never do," Hahnemann told evertontv.
"We've had psychologists that have come into and you get a lot of fight against it from teammates but you have to listen to what these people have to say.
"Everyone has issues and problems but it's about how you deal with them."
In addition to conducting a Q&A session, Marcus also signed an anti-discrimination pledge to demonstrate the Club's support for people living with mental health problems.
One in four people live with a mental health problem in the UK and often suffer in silence.
Everton in the Community in partnership with mental health service provider Mersey Care NHS Trust developed an exercise programme called ‘Imagine Your Goals' in 2007, which has since benefited hundreds of people across Merseyside.
The programme offers local people who are living with mental health issues, such as depression and anxiety, an opportunity to talk about their problems and seek help and support in a familiar environment. There have been many successes from the programme, including players who have got fitter, feel better, have made friends and gone on to do coaching qualifications, volunteering and employment.
In 2008 NHS partner Mersey Care NHS Trust jointly funded an initial three-year programme with the Premier League Community Fund, enabling Everton to become the first Premier League club in the country to appoint a full-time mental health football co-ordinator.
Working with Mersey Care NHS staff has enabled Everton to build on its coaching workshops and six sessions are now provided at sites across Merseyside. It also led to the creation of Merseyside's first mental health football league and the programme is now accessed by around 150 players each week. Mersey Care NHS Trust continues to work with Everton in the Community and has funded the scheme for a further two years to enable local people access to the programme.
Imagine Your Goals has been adopted by other Premier League clubs up and down the country and has received several prestigious awards including the 2010 Sports Industry Award for ‘Best Community Programme', 2010 North West Football Award for ‘Best Community Scheme of the Year' and the 2010 Tony Adams Award for ‘Positive Mental Health'.
Everton in the Community's Imagine Your Goals co-ordinator, Johnnie Garside, said: "Mental health has somewhat of a stigma attached to it but the interesting thing is that everybody has mental health, so we should encourage openness when talking about mental health issues."
For more information about Imagine Your Goals, contact Everton in the Community on 0151 530 5253 or visit evertonfc.com/community.