UK: Ex-defender Clarke Carlisle talks mental health in football

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Published on 16 May 2018, 20:20
Former Professional Footballers’ Association (PFA) chairman and ex-Burnley defender Clarke Carlisle spoke about his well-documented struggles with mental health in a wide-ranging interview on The Stan Collymore Show on RT last Friday.

Carlisle, who made over 500 appearances in his 16-year professional career, believes the pressure at top-level football is largely to blame.

“It's because of that male-orientated, male-dominated arena, and you'll find it similar in other such arenas, like the armed forces,” he explained.

“One of the misconceptions about football that I find, is that people […] think everyone's teammates. You couldn't be further from the truth.”

Nor does being selected at such a young age help prepare players for the ruthlessness of the professional game.

“It focuses in on those insecurities you had and compounds them by drawing on any negative aspect of your life."

Once awarded the prize of ‘Britain's Brainiest Footballer’, Carlisle was a high-profile figure, representing English players at the PFA, before his fall from grace.

His long battle with depression culminated in a suicide attempt back in 2014, when his car was hit by a lorry outside York. Since then, Carlisle has become a campaigner for mental health awareness.

Stan Collymore has also spoken publicly about attempting suicide following his retirement in 2001. Through his show, he hopes to highlight mental health as an issue affecting current and ex-pros.

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