Image ID 2JFK7CW Fishing angler 15012020 CREDIT PA Images, Alamy Stock Photo.jpg
The results will help to inform whether angling can be prescribed in the future by the NHS for those who have experienced trauma (Picture: PA Images/Alamy Stock Photo).
Mental Health

Can angling help with PTSD?

Image ID 2JFK7CW Fishing angler 15012020 CREDIT PA Images, Alamy Stock Photo.jpg
The results will help to inform whether angling can be prescribed in the future by the NHS for those who have experienced trauma (Picture: PA Images/Alamy Stock Photo).

Military veterans are being invited on a free fishing weekend by academics as part of their research into angling as a treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

The University of Essex project is asking former service personnel to explore the soothing powers of standing on a river bank with a rod and a line.

Participants will be randomly assigned one of two fishing groups, with researchers observing how angling helps them with their mental health.

The Angling for Good project, led by non-profit iCarp and the university's department of psychology, aims to inform NHS policy.

Dr Nick Cooper said: "This is a once-in-a-lifetime chance to help improve the lives of anyone who struggles with PTSD or other complicated mental health conditions.

"This is the next step in our research, and we believe angling can offer a real lifeline to those in desperate need.

"It is our hope that soon GPs will be able to prescribe fishing as a treatment and our preliminary research shows it makes a real difference."

He went on: "Veterans are amongst the bravest in our society and many of them and their families have to live with the terrible burden of PTSD.

"They have often sacrificed so much, but if they can give us just one weekend by the lake – we believe our research can change the lives of thousands of people across the country."

Taking part

All veterans are welcome, regardless of formal PTSD diagnosis, gender, disability or age.

The study will take place over a single weekend, including an overnight camp with all equipment provided.

The weekend is free, food will be provided, and £20 for travel expenses has also been made available.

The study will take place at the project's new home in a nature reserve near Harwich, Essex.

"It's a privilege to welcome ex-service personnel to our new lake complex – it's such a peaceful and relaxing place," said Dr Cooper.

"We know that a day or so spent here can really help people struggling with some of the after-effects of trauma.

"I really urge any veterans or families of those who served to get in touch to find out more about how we can help," he added.

More details can be found on the project website.

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