Fishing could be prescribed by GPs to treat PTSD if veterans join study

  • Date

    Mon 4 Jul 22

Army veterans fishing

A ground-breaking study that could see GPs prescribe fishing to treat PTSD is appealing to military veterans to help its vital work.

The University of Essex project wants former servicemen and women to explore the soothing powers of standing bankside with a rod and a line.

It is hoped they will assist academics unlock vital new treatments which could aid countless thousands who struggle with their mental health.

The Angling for Good scheme is being run with a view to transform NHS social prescribing and use the natural world as a way to overcome trauma.

The study, led by the Department of Psychology and non-profit iCarp – will build on previous studies that revealed how angling can ease the strains of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

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.

“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.”

PTSD is an anxiety disorder caused by very stressful, frightening or distressing events. Sufferers relive the traumatic event through nightmares and flashbacks, and may experience feelings of isolation, irritability and guilt.

Certain triggers can make people feel under threat, whilst sparking vivid flashbacks that can blight relationships and everyday life.

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.

It is free, food will be provided, and £20 of travel expenses is also available.

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

Dr Cooper added: “It’s a privilege to welcome ex-service personnel to our new lake complex – it’s such a peaceful and relaxing place.

“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.”

More information on how to sign-up is on the research project's web page.