Ex-Cobblers captain says stiff upper lip attitude to mental health has changed

Clarke and Carrie Carlisle collect their award alongside Fearne Cotton and Mind's president Stephen Fry
Clarke and Carrie Carlisle collect their award alongside Fearne Cotton and Mind's president Stephen Fry

Former Cobblers captain Clarke Carlisle claimed the British stiff upper lip attitude to mental health and a code of silence around the issue have finally been broken.

Carlisle and his wife Carrie were accepting the Speaking Out Award at the Virgin Money Giving Mind Media Awards, which is given to people who have made a significant impact by sharing their own experiences of mental health problems.

The former chairman of the Professional Footballers Association has a history of depression and was reported missing by his family last September.

In a candid interview with Liverpool’s Radio City, Carlisle 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 her husband and was recognised for her bravery in recounting her experience of Carlisle's disappearance and how she helped him.

"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," Carlisle said on stage at the awards ceremony in London's Southbank Centre.

"Don’t be shackled, do not be burdened, do not be conditioned by what has gone before."

The couple won the Speaking Out Award at last night’s event hosted by Mind’s President Stephen Fry.

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."

Carlisle also spoke about his hopes for their children.

"They’re not going to have an upbringing like we had," said the former Burnley, QPR and Leeds defender.

"They’re going to be encouraged to be emotionally literate, emotionally resilient – they’re going to be taught that every emotion is bonafide and welcome in our house."