Clarke Carlisle Recognised For His Work In Speaking Out For Mental Health at Mind Media Awards

Bonnie Evie Gifford
By Bonnie Evie Gifford,
updated on Nov 30, 2018

Clarke Carlisle Recognised For His Work In Speaking Out For Mental Health at Mind Media Awards

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.

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."

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.”

This year’s winners

The 25th annual award ceremony was hosted by leading mental health charity Mind’s President, Stephen Fry, and held at the Queen Elizabeth Hall, Southbank Centre. This year’s guests included Mind ambassador Fearne Cotton, Frankie Bridge, and Dame Kelly Holmes, alongside a host of celebrity guests celebrating the shows, publications, and individuals helping improve our understanding and attitudes towards mental health.

Mind reports this year’s entries were amongst the most diverse yet, covering issues from the struggle faced to get a diagnosis for depersonalisation disorder, to living with hearing voices. This year’s winners included:

The Making A Difference Award - recognising media that sets the agenda and initiates change, was awarded to Hollyoaks for their #DontFilterFeelings campaign on social media. Inspired by the show’s mental health storylines, which have included Alfie’s diagnosis of schizoaffective disorder, Lily’s self-harm, and Scott’s attempted suicide. The award-winning show worked with mental health charity, Samaritans, to create sensitive, realistic storylines portraying a wide variety of mental illnesses and crisis.

News and Current Affairs - BBC News at 10 took home the award this year for their ongoing coverage of a broad variety of issues, from the pressure on mental health services to the impact of the Grenfell Tower tragedy.

Entertainment Award - the One Show took home the Entertainment Award for their imaginative approach to tackling issues including body dysmorphic disorder, while BBC Three’s Overshadowed took the Drama Award for its adaptation of the award-winning play, which portrays the story of Imogine and her relationship with body image and anorexia.

Further award winners included Girls on the Edge for Best Documentary, telling the story of three teenage girls sectioned under the Mental Health Act. Best Podcast went to BBC Newsbeat’s I Hear Voices, which highlighted one woman’s story of living with Schizophrenia.

ITV’s Coronation Street picked up the award for Soaps and Continual Series for their work to highlight male mental health and suicide through Aidan Connor’s storyline earlier this year. Radio City picked up an award for Radio for their Mental Health Marathon, which saw 24 hours of non-stop coverage with 73 guests sharing their stories.

In print, Hannah Jane Parkinson won Journalist for her powerful article It’s Nothing Like a Broken Leg, and Publication went to The Doctor for their Disparity of Esteem Series. Student Journalist was awarded to Hannah Currie for her film We Are All Here, The Forest of Black. Charlotte Mullin was awarded this year’s Digital Champion for her webcomic Chuck Draws Things, which details her experiences of living with anxiety and depression through comic-strip pigeons.

For the second year, Mind and Loose Women teamed up to present the Lighten the Load Hero Award, which celebrates everyday heroes who support those living with mental health problems. This year’s winner, Amy Lawrence, was nominated by Chloe Sunnucks for going above and beyond to help her manage her mental health issues in the workplace.

Paul Farmer, Chief Executive of Mind shared his thoughts on this year’s awards:

“The best portrayals of mental health in the media not only help to challenge stigma and build awareness, but can have a direct impact on our wellbeing. Following last year’s unprecedented media attention on mental health, our research found a rise in people seeking help and supporting each other. Every journalist, producer and blogger honoured [at the awards] can be proud that they are changing people’s lives and creating a better national conversation about mental health.

“But while the media has helped to expand the conversation, the reality of living with a mental health problem in our society hasn’t improved at the same pace. This year, nine in ten people have faced discrimination because of their mental health and only a quarter of people have received help from health services. We hope the media can continue to highlight the systemic problems and injustices people with mental health problems face so many more can get the support they need.”

This year’s sponsors included Virgin Money Giving, the UK’s largest not-for-profit online fundraising website; and Happiful Magazine, the UK’s only lifestyle magazine purely devoted to mental health.

Mental health charity Mind provide advice and support to help those experiencing a mental health problem. Campaigning to improve services, raise awareness, and promote understanding, Mind offers a confidential information and support like available 9am - 6pm, Monday to Friday on 0300 123 3393.

For more information on the MindMedia Awards and the 2018 winners, visit Mind.

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