Mente ambassadors Clarke & Carrie Carlisle win the Speaking Out award

Virgin Money Giving Mind Media Awards winner Clarke Carlisle claimed that the “British stiff upper lip” attitude to mental health and “code of silence” has finally been broken.

Ex-footballer and founder of the Clarke Carlisle Foundation for Dual Diagnosis, Clarke, and his wife Carrie Carlisle accepted the Speaking Out Award at the 25th annual Virgin Money Giving Mind Media Awards. At the celebration which honours the best portrayals of mental health in the media, Clarke said:

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

Carrie and Clarke Carlisle won the Speaking Out award, which recognises those who have made an impact by sharing their own experiences with mental health problems. The former chairman of the Professional Footballers Association, player for Burnley, QPR, and Leeds, has spoken openly about his history of depression.

In September 2017, he was reported missing by his family, who feared for his life. In a candid interview, Clarke spoke about how he had been “strolling around Liverpool looking for a responsible way to die” until a passerby spoke to him, hugged him, and encouraged him to get in touch with his family. Carrie was recognised for her bravery in recounting her experience of Clarke’s disappearance, and how she helped her husband.

Clarke went on to praise the NHS staff who helped him with his mental health ordeal, but expressed concern that help is “only there at crisis point.” He said:

“You have to be on the edge or actively suicidal to gain those services. The biggest gains have to be made in early prevention.”

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