An own goal by Pools' defender Sam Collins and Matty Robson's effort gave Carlisle an interval lead and Lee Miller added the third to give Carlisle just their third home win of the season and leave Hughes still seeking his first victory in seven games since mid-November.
Hughes admitted his team need the fighting spirit that helped Great Britain's golfers win the Ryder Cup in America unless they are to remain anchored at the foot of the table.
He said: "Ian Poulter led from the front and that is what we have got to do. Who is going to be our Ian Poulter and inspire us because that's what we have got to do.
"We are fragile and low on confidence. Eighty per cent of this game is up top. It's that mental side we have to make sure we get right."
Hughes added: "You can't legislate for the first two goals we conceded. There was desire and belief in the second half, but we could not get that goal to turn the game on its head.
"Big Sam (Collins) was unlucky with the first goal, but that's the luck we are carrying at the moment. We have got to go out and play without trepidation and have a real go and to be honest I felt we did that."
Carlisle survived an early scare when Pools' Jonathan Franks glanced a shot off the top of the crossbar from just outside the box, but it was ex-Hartlepool winger Robson who was instrumental in Carlisle taking a 20th-minute lead. His left-footed shot from 25 yards struck defender Collins on the back and completely deceived goalkeeper Scott Flinders as it flew in just inside the post.
Carlisle defender Mike Edwards cleared a towering Steve Howard header off the goalline before Robson made it 2-0 to the Cumbrians in the 27th minute with a simple finish from inside the six-yard box.
Robson was a constant threat and his run and cross enabled Miller to nod home his first goal of the season at the far post for Carlisle's third goal in the 74th minute.