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Carlisle 'no shame' at suicide bid

Former Premier League star Clarke Carlisle today said he felt "no shame" about his recent suicide attempt.

The ex-footballer 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.

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

Carlisle, 35, was hit by a 12-ton lorry on the A64 near York in December.

The former Burnley and Leeds defender joined Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg at the Oval for the launch of a charter committed to tackling the stigma surrounding mental illness.

The Mental Health Charter for Sport and Recreation aims to "blow the whistle" on mental health discrimination in sport, the Cabinet Office said.

The Football Association (FA), the Rugby Football Union (RFU), the Lawn Tennis Association (LTA) and the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) are among the governing bodies in sport to sign up to the scheme.

Mr Clegg said: "Whether it's Wimbledon or the World Cup, the Olympics or the Open, we are a nation truly inspired by our sportsmen and women.

"But with one in four of us affected by mental illness in any year, we know that professional sports people are not immune. Out of the spotlight and away from the glare of the media, some have been fighting their own personal battles against mental illness.

"That's why today is such a momentous day for the nation's mental health. For the very first time we're standing together to help kick mental health discrimination out of sport, not just on the pitches but across the playgrounds, so that we can build a fairer society in which no one has to suffer in silence."

The charter, which comes after it was announced an extra £1.25 billion will be spent on mental health services over the next five years, will also encourage more people to take up sport to help with their mental and physical health.

Paul Farmer, chief executive of mental health charity Mind, said: "From the elite level down to grass roots - sport can be used to reduce stigma and encourage positive conversation about mental health, which is why we're delighted to back the Sport and Recreational Alliance sport and mental health charter.

"Sport brings people together. The benefits of physical activity for mental health and well-being are well known, and sport has been used to support people with mental health problems for some time."

The Professional Players Federation said it has doubled the number of counsellors for footballers due to an increasing demand over the past three years. Its helpline and network of counsellors worked with 143 current and former sports stars last year, with many struggling with issues including anxiety, depression and suicidal thoughts.

Meanwhile, the number of cricketers seeking help for mental health-related issues has doubled year-on-year for the past three years, the Cabinet Office said.


From Belfast Telegraph