Former Burnley, Preston North End and Blackpool defender Clarke Carlisle joined Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg this week to launch a mental health charter for sport
The mental health campaigner, who has talked candidly about his attempt to commit suicide in Decemeber by stepping infront of a lorry, hopes the charter will help sportsmen and women, as well as their fans, acknowledge the impact of mental illness.
He joined Nick Clegg, at the Oval for the launch of the charter which aims to “blow the whistle” on mental health discrimination in sport and is backed by the Football Association, the Rugby Football Union, the Lawn Tennis Association and the England and Wales Cricket Board.
Describing the launch as a “landmark day in out nation’s journey about mental heath”, Carlisle said: “One of the greatest battles in tackling mental health is tackling the taboo and stigma” and spoke of the need for “strong, honest role models”.
“This charter will bring the entirity of sport together,” he said, describing sport as “the most powerful medium in the world in getting the message across.
“If you get the aspirational young boy or young girl seeing their idol talking openly and honestly about their their feelings and doing the the things necessary to maintain their mental health, we’ve got a chance to break the cycle of ignorance and silence.”
He went on: “Many people look at sports stars and say you’re doing the job of your dreams, you’re getting paid fantastic amounts of money, you’re getting adulation and playing infront of crowds, what have you got to be unhappy about? But depression, anxiety and all the plethora and strands of mental health have nothing to do with happiness or sdaness it’s an illness.”
He added: “It’s not a choice, it’s not an option, it needs treating in the correct manner.”