Here at Angling Direct, we could not be happier with the recognition of the benefits angling has on mental health. Fishing is not only a pastime but a way of life for many people and its benefits to achieving a healthy body and mind can now be used to help and support anglers and non-anglers suffering from anxiety and depression in the UK.
The NHS has collaborated with the non-profit fishing organisation 'Tackling Minds' to now prescribe angling to people suffering from mental health in the UK. This is the first time fishing has been added as an official option for health care professionals.
Whilst our NHS health professionals such as GPs, nurses, occupational therapists, psychiatrists, and psychologists, can prescribe angling instead of antidepressants and anxiety medications, Tackling Minds can provide the fishing tackle kit and coaching for first-time anglers stepping on to the bankside.
David Lyons, the founder of Tackling Minds, commented:
“It has been great to see the reactions on the service users, the excitement, and the buzz of this scheme. We [Tackling Minds] have had feedback from the occupational therapists of those seeking treatment, stating that Angling is really making a difference.”
The first anglers prescribed fishing therapy have already taken to the waterside on April 20th. The first group that was prescribed fishing consisted of up to 10 patients and carried out a session at a lodge in Blackley, Manchester.
David also shared the importance of the scheme in the current climate.
“There has been a knock-on effect on mental health due to Covid. It is clear to see how important this scheme has been with how many local service users have now been referred to them [NHS]. Thanks to others in the fishing industry, like Angling Trust, getting us fishing again, we [Tackling Minds] want to promote the benefits of angling.”
David went on to list the benefits fishing has on our health:
“Evidence-based research shows that fishing has been proven to benefit people suffering from mental health with angling offering the chance of being outside in a green open space, the ability to engage with other people and a great form of moderate exercise, especially to those that are elderly or suffering from injury. There are also different types of fishing, such as pike fishing that encourages more movement to a different location on the bank as you stalk the fish…it is much more than just sitting by the water with a rod.”
Every participant gets paired with a qualified angling coach trained for working with people in vulnerable positions as well as a group of prescribed anglers having help from support workers.
All the fish caught on these wellbeing sessions are released after they have been caught. The time spent in nature offers time for reflection, meeting new people as well as learning the new skill of angling.
Oliver Harper, Marketing Manager of Angling Direct, commented:
“Angling Direct have supported Tackling Minds previously and we continue to support their work in the industry. Back in late March, over at our Manchester branch, Angling Direct donated items of tackle to support Tackling Minds in their mission to make angling and its benefits more accessible for all. With the Tackling Minds organisation being based in the North West, AD Manchester will be doing a lot more work with David and his team over the coming months.“
Here is founder David Lyons collecting items from our AD Manchester team.
Angling Direct members from our Manchester store have also joined Dave and his team from Tackling Minds at Bradshaw Hall Fisheries in Bolton, helping with coaching the new anglers on the bank.
At the moment, Tackling Minds are concentrating on their local area of Manchester, but they do plan to expand, with a brighter future for angling and mental health.
David also shared:
“We plan on going national, getting more involved and encouraging more donations so we can help more service users to start angling... It is very exciting because I know there is a demand and know how successful it can be."
David has been contacted by health professionals throughout the country, planning on working with other, similar, fishing groups. David and the rest of the Tackling Minds team are also fundraising in the hope to buy a van that will help get the fishing tackle essentials to more people that are socially prescribed angling.