Big NYS charity date for Clarke

A FORMER professional footballer who once tried to take his own life is the guest at a charity gala dinner at the AESSEAL New York Stadium this summer to raise the issue of mental illness.

Clarke Carlisle made a suicide attempt in 2014 while severely depressed and has since dedicated time to tackling the problem.

Rotherham United Community Sports Trust, which is doing similar work, have organised the gala dinner on Saturday, July 16 in association with charity Rotherham Mind and Damian Kitson, chairman of the Treeton Terriers junior club, who has life experience of mental health issues.

Clarke (35) will be among the after-dinner speakers alongside guests from Rotherham United and the world of entertainment and his presence is exciting for all involved.

“Clarke Carlisle is one of the highest profile footballers who has physically tried to take his own life and we're pleased to have him come and talk openly about mental health,” said Jamie Noble, the Millers' head of community.

“Mental health is the hidden illness. We want the night to be about openness and positivity which will hopefully break down barriers and challenge the stigma attached.”

RUCST's Sport England-funded Mental Health project creates sporting, training and volunteering opportunities for adults in Rotherham with mental health issues because there is lots of evidence to suggest running and physical activity is good for the mind.

Clarke added: “I was once told that bravery is starting a conversation that makes a difference. Events like this are doing exactly that and I can't wait to be a part of it. When Jamie contacted me I instantly checked my diary to make sure I was free.

"I'm looking forward to coming to Rotherham to share my experience and show others that openness is a positive step in their recovery and see if I can support others to share their experiences."

A former player with Burnley and QPR and one-time chairman of the Professional Footballers Association, Clarke launched the Clarke Carlisle Foundation for Dual Diagnosis. It aims to raise awareness levels about Dual Diagnosis – mental health problems co-occurring with drug or alcohol misuse – and funds for a purpose built treatment facility.

Doors open at 7pm and tickets are £40 per person or £350 for a table of ten and the night includes an auction, raffle prizes, live music and a disco.

Call 01709 827767 or visit www.rucst.co.uk