Carlisle, who was once the Professional Footballer’s Association chairman told The Sun he decided he “had to die” after being charged with a drink driving offence and leapt into the path of a lorry in December.
Little responded to the news by accusing the father-of-two of “getting away with it AGAIN”, alongside a photo of his battered and bruised face.
— Ralf Little (@RalfLittle) February 4, 2015
Seems people want context about previous tweet. So let me say, I know the full story and it's not what's portrayed in the media. That's all.— Ralf Little (@RalfLittle) February 4, 2015
Little was instantly attacked on twitter and later wrote a lengthy screed in which he acknowledged his comments appeared “insensitive and crass” but maintained that while he wished Carlisle a strong recovery, he felt “drained” of sympathy for him.
He added: "There comes a point where it's just frustrating to witness someone constantly hammering the pattern of destruction for those around - and I was once one of those around - only to see the destructive force make a moving and sincere apology ... then do it again."
Using his wife Gemma’s Twitter account, Carlisle has responded to Little.
He wrote: "Hi Ralf, it's Clarke here. I have seen you once in 10 years and that was to apologise for my repulsive behaviour as a young man. I know you have your right to your opinion but I've got to say, I sincerely hope that you're not the same person you were 10 years ago, as I very much am not.
"I hope you are well, happy and enjoying your excellent career. I pray depression never bites x".
@RalfLittle Hi Ralf, it's Clarke here. I have seen you once in 10 years,and that was to apologise for my repulsive behaviour as a young man>— MrsC (@gemmacarlisle) February 4, 2015
@RalfLittle I know you have you're right to your opinion, but I've got to say, I sincerely hope that you're not the same person you were 10>— MrsC (@gemmacarlisle) February 4, 2015
@RalfLittle years ago, as I very much am not. I hope you are well, happy and enjoying your excellent career. I pray depression never bites x— MrsC (@gemmacarlisle) February 4, 2015
Little had referenced Carlisle’s wife in his longer message, stating he felt “sad and maybe a little angry for Gemma, and the kids and the lorry driver.”
He added: “Of course I wish Clarke a strong recovery – and not just from the crash. It would be a better world if he and all other sufferers of such an insidious disease could find a way to fight the good fight. But when he does end up facing the drink driving charges... I hope, not least out of respect for the hundreds of drink driving victims who tweet me every year, they throw the book at him.”
While the matter continued to trend on Twitter, Little posted a note he had received from a man whose brother committed suicide shortly after Carlisle’s attempt to take his own life.
The note from Jonny Gabriel advised the actor: “I think you’d have been better served deleting your initial tweets and apologising,” adding: “What I do think I know, though, is that for a split second my brother and Clarke Carlisle were both in a difficult place - a place they saw no escape from other than through taking their own lives.
"Thankfully for Clarke Carlisle's family, his friends and his loved ones, he is still here today. Sadly I cannot say the same of my brother, but I feel not anger towards him, I do not see him as selfish as others may, I do not judge him. I would ask that you do the same of Clarke Carlisle, and others who face similar situations as him.
“Mental health, depression and suicide still have a strong stigma surrounding them; your post and tweets only seek to reinforce that on the impressionable. Please educate yourself, please know that others shouldn't feel too ashamed or proud to seek help.”
The note ends with a link to the charity CALM, for which Jonny is fundraising in memory of his brother.
Mental health charities praised the footballer's "brave" decision to speak out and said they hoped he would inspire others to seek help.
Paul Farmer, chief executive of the charity Mind, which Carlisle is an ambassador for, said: "We all wish Clarke the very best with his recovery and hope he and his family get all the support they need.
"We would urge anyone who is experiencing the pain and distress of suicidal feelings to try and speak to somebody, be that a friend or family member, their GP or a charity like Mind or Samaritans."
He added: "By speaking so openly about his depression and battle with suicidal thoughts we hope Clarke encourages others who may be struggling to seek help."
The Samaritans said: "It takes a lot of strength to raise these issues. We commend him for being so brave and speaking so openly about the feelings which led him to try to take his own life.
"Because he has spoken out, we hope others will feel able to share their own feelings if they are struggling to cope and crucially, ask for help."
Useful websites and helplines:
- Samaritans, open 24 hours a day, on 08457 90 90 90
- Mind, open Monday to Friday, 9am-6pm on 0300 123 3393
- Young Minds offers information to young people about mental health and emotional wellbeing
- Students Against Depression, a website by students, for students.
- HopeLine runs a confidential advice helpline if you are a young person at risk of suicide or are worried about a young person at risk of suicide. Mon-Fri 10-5pmand 7pm-10pm. Weekends 2pm-5pm on 0800 068 41 41
- HeadMeds - a straight-talking website on mental health medication
- Student Minds supports students across the UK to bring about positive change on their campuses through campaigning and facilitating peer support programmes. To join the community or launch a student group contact the charity on firstname.lastname@example.org