EX FOOTBALLER Clarke Carlisle who previously played for York City has been honoured for his work in helping to break the silence around mental health.

Carlisle, a former chairman of the Professional Footballers Association, and a player for Burnley, QPR and Leeds, has a history of depression and was reported missing last September by his family, who feared for his life.

A passerby saw him in Liverpool and encouraged him to call his wife, Carrie, who has spoken out about their experience.

The couple won the Speaking Out Award on Thursday at the 25th annual Virgin Money Giving Mind Media Awards, hosted by Mind’s President Stephen Fry.

The awards honour the best portrayals of mental health in the media.

Clarke who was seriously injured when he was struck by a lorry on the A64 in York on Monday, December 22, 2014, 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.”

He also spoke about his hopes for their children. “They’re not going to have an upbringing like we had. They’re going to be encouraged to be emotionally literate, emotionally resilient – they’re going to be taught that every emotion is bone fide and welcome in our house.”

Carrie was recognised for her bravery in recounting her experience and how she helped her husband.

She 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.”

Paul Farmer, Chief Executive of Mind said: “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 tonight 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.”