Help available for players – Taylor

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Published: Thursday 5th February 2015 by The News Editor

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Players’ union chief Gordon Taylor has highlighted the help available to footballers following revelations about Clarke Carlisle’s latest battle with depression.

Former Watford and Burnley defender Carlisle has disclosed that the serious injuries he suffered after being hit by a lorry in December were the result of a suicide attempt.

Carlisle’s previous mental health problems were well known, with the 35-year-old having admitted to a past attempt to take his own life in 2001.

Indeed, Carlisle had become a prominent voice on the subject, presenting a TV documentary on the issue of suicide in football and taking a key role in the Professional Footballers’ Association’s wellbeing programme.

The introduction to the wellbeing section on the PFA website is written by Carlisle, who served as the organisation’s chairman from 2010-13.

The PFA details a large network of counsellors, a 24-hour helpline and close links to the Sporting Chance clinic among its initiatives.

Carlisle’s revelations, in an interview with The Sun newspaper, came on the day the PFA was showing its support for the #TimetoTalk campaign, which encourages people to speak out about mental health issues.

Taylor, chief executive of the PFA, said: “Mental welfare and depression is something we have been quite concerned about for a number of years now and have acted on it, along with many other sporting organisations.

“This can be something that can affect all people in all walks of life but in sport as well. There have been a number of high-profile cases that everyone will be aware of.

“A booklet has gone out to all our members. We have a 24-hour helpline. We also have the Sporting Chance clinic that looks after players with such conditions and there are a number of mental health charities we support. We have approximately 30 counsellors who are available 24 hours to talk to any of our members, past and present, with such problems.”

Carlisle has said that by speaking out he hopes that others with issues will be encouraged to seek help.

Taylor said: “I think it is for every individual but we hope that by talking about such issues, publicly or privately, people can see there is a strong support network to help them.

“It is only possible to help them when they let people know of the problems, so we can do our best to try to address them with trained counsellors.”

Carlisle spent six weeks in hospital after being hit by the lorry on the A64 near York before Christmas. It later emerged he had been charged with drink-driving just two days previously.

Carlisle has now revealed that he was pulled over by police after a drinking and gambling spree sparked by news he was to lose his job as a pundit with ITV. It was the latest in a series of setbacks including the end of his football career and financial matters. That led to the suicide attempt, which Carlisle has described as his “lowest point”.

Taylor said: “We are very much aware of Clarke’s situation and have been involved in the recuperation process.

“He is in the broadcasting world now but that doesn’t mean to say he is not still subject to such issues.

“If they do arise, then of course he knows that we are here to help address them and try to get him back on track.”

Published: Thursday 5th February 2015 by The News Editor

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