Ex-Leeds United footballer Clarke Carlisle has spoken out about his battle with mental health as he scooped an award for his portrayal of mental health in the media.
As Clarke and his wife, Carrie Carlisle, accepted the Speaking Out Award at the 25th annual Virgin Money Giving Mind Media Awards, which honour the best portrayals of mental health in the media, he said: “Don’t be shackled, do not be burdened, do not be conditioned by what has gone before.
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"The stiff British upper lip, it’s gone. That code of silence around what you’re thinking and what you’re feeling, it’s gone.”
The couple won the Speaking Out Award at last night’s event hosted by Mind’s President Stephen Fry.
The award is given to people who have made a significant impact by sharing their own experiences of mental health problems.
The star-studded event took place at the Queen Elizabeth Hall, Southbank Centre, with Fearne Cotton, Frankie Bridge and Nicola Roberts among the celebrity guests celebrating storytelling which helps improve understanding and attitudes towards mental health.
larke Carlisle, a former chairman of the Professional Footballers Association, and a defender for Leeds United, QPR and Burnley, has a history of depression and was reported missing by his family last September, who feared for his life.
In a candid interview with Liverpool’s Radio City – which has won the Radio award this year – Clarke spoke about how he had been “strolling around Liverpool looking for a responsible way to die” until a passerby spoke to him and encouraged him to call his wife.
Carrie was interviewed alongside him, and was recognised for her bravery in recounting her experience of Clarke’s disappearance and how she helped her husband.
Carrie said: “People have said to me, how could he put you through that?
"And my husband said to me he felt like such a burden to me and his family. Let me be clear, my husband didn’t put me through anything. If you’re suffering, you’re not putting anyone through anything. The illness is putting us through something. And the illness is putting you and your family collectively through something.”
Clarke also spoke about his hopes for their children: “They’re not going to have an upbringing like we had. They’re going to be encouraged to be emotionally literate, emotionally resilient – they’re going to be taught that every emotion is bone fide and welcome in our house.”
Paul Farmer, Chief Executive of Mind said: “The best portrayals of mental health in the media not only help to challenge stigma and build awareness, but can have a direct impact on our wellbeing. Following last year’s unprecedented media attention on mental health, our research found a rise in people seeking help and supporting each other.
"Every journalist, producer and blogger honoured tonight can be proud that they are changing people’s lives and creating a better national conversation about mental health.
“But while the media has helped to expand the conversation, the reality of living with a mental health problem in our society hasn’t improved at the same pace.
"This year, nine in ten people have faced discrimination because of their mental health and only a quarter of people have received help from health services. We hope the media can continue to highlight the systemic problems and injustices people with mental health problems face so many more can get the support they need.”