We meet the man using the power of fishing to help people with mental health and wellbeing
Mark set up Fishing the Mind two years ago to help others who might be struggling with mental health issues.
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After losing a close relative, Mark found his grief challenging to handle. He realised that going out fishing was helping him deal with the depression he was experiencing and he wanted to help others who might be struggling too.
He started Fishing the Mind around two years ago, and the group, which provides angling equipment and is open to people of all ages, has been growing in numbers ever since.
Fishing is already being prescribed by some NHS Trusts to treat anxiety and depression and Mark believes that interacting with nature while providing support helps you forget all the worries of the world.
Mark told LiverpoolWorld: “For me, it’s therapy. People go to the doctors for medication, I was on antidepressants. I needed help. I needed some support. I wasn’t eating properly. It’s nothing to be ashamed of, a lot of people struggle on their own.”
As well as getting out in the fresh air, people can master a new skill and also become environmental champions as they practise catch and release.
Mark said: “We look after the fish, we put them back, and they don’t get harmed. You can see what’s going on in the water, and the local lads really look after the parks around Liverpool.”
In fact, Mark’s theory that fishing is therapy has now been backed up by an academic study. The research from Anglia Ruskin University shows that in addition to reducing the symptoms of depression, fishing boosts individuals’ social connections, as well as helping with anxiety.
”It keeps you very, very focused,” Mark said. “Another part of fishing is not just getting out, it’s about; what bait we’re going to use, what rig we’re going to use, what waters are we going to, and what’s the weed like at the bottom. All these factors. It really does take a lot to get out fishing, but it’s therapy.”
The funding and donations received so far have been used to purchase fishing and safety equipment for people to use during the group’s sessions at fisheries and local parks.
Mark’s next aim is to get a seven-seater vehicle for the group to use so that the transport barrier is not there for those that want to join their group on socials at fisheries outside of the city.
Watch the video above to see our full feature and to hear more from Fishing the Mind founder Mark.