Former Burnley, Blackpool and Preston footballer Clarke Carlisle has today spoken out about the mental health problems that drove him to attempt suicide.
Speaking at the Oval Cricket Ground, at the launch of the Mental Health Charter for Sport and Recreation to tackle discrimination, Carlisle said he was “incredibly unwell” at the time of his suicide attempt on December 22nd but now had a “very different perspective” on life.
An ambassador for mental health charity MIND he is in the process of settling up his own charity, the Clarke Carlisle Foundation for Dual Diagnosis, to help others suffering from both depression and addiction issues.
Speaking at the Oval, alongside Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg, he said: “People are very delicate stepping around it – there’s no shame invested in it for me.
“I tried to commit suicide because I was incredibly unwell, but it’s changed my life. It’s changed my life because I got incredible support, initially from Leeds General Hospital to keep me alive and then from the Cygnet Hospital in Harrogate to not only nurture me mentally but to give me new tools and new skills.
“I stand here today with a very different perspective of what it means to be alive in this world. There’s a great expectation that once you come out of a psychiatric hospital you’re cured. You’re not cured – you just have more tools, a greater awareness of self and a greater understanding of how to manage your illness and that’s exactly where I’m at.
“I’m managing my illness on a daily basis and I can tell you today I’m very well.”
Father-of-three Carlisle (35), a former chairman of the professional Footballers’ Association, was hit by a 12-ton lorry on the A64 near York. His mental health issues had engulfed him after learning he had lost a contract as a football pundit and he went on a gambling spree before being stopped by police for a drink-drive offence.
He appeared in court in London this week to plead guilty to failing to provide a specimen and driving other than in accordance with his licence and will learn his fate on may 14th.