Video: Clarke Carlisle on his battle with mental illness

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FORMER PREMIER League footballer Clarke Carlisle said he felt “no shame” about his recent suicide attempt and praised the support he received from hospital staff in Yorkshire.

The 35-year-old former Leeds United player said he was “incredibly unwell” when he tried to take his own life in December but he now had a very different perspective on life.

Clarke Carlisle at the launch of The Mental Health Charter for Sport and Recreation at the Oval, London.  Pic: Yui Mok/PA

Clarke Carlisle at the launch of The Mental Health Charter for Sport and Recreation at the Oval, London. Pic: Yui Mok/PA

Speaking at the Oval Cricket Ground in London today at the launch of a project to tackle mental health discrimination in sport, Carlisle 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.”

He said there is a great expectation on being discharged from psychiatric care that you are cured and that this was not the case. But he said he now had more ‘tools’, a greater awareness of self and a greater understanding of how to manage his illness.

“I’m managing my illness on a daily basis and I can tell you today I’m very well.”

Carlisle, whose football career as a defender took in spells at Leeds United and Burnley, was seriously injured after he was hit by a 12-ton lorry on the A64 near York on December 22.

Still bearing the scars from that incident, Carlisle said: “A large proportion of society will look at a sports star and say: ‘You’re doing the job of you’re dreams, you’re getting paid fantastic amounts of money, you’re getting adulation and playing in front of crowds, what have you got to be unhappy about?

“Depression, anxiety, all the plethora of strands of mental health, they’ve got nothing to do with happiness or sadness. It’s an illness. It’s not a choice, it’s not an option, it needs treating in the right manner.”