Research Project

A nature-based intervention to improve mental health

Principal Investigators
Dr Nicholas Cooper
Professor Sheina Orbell
Dr Mike Rogerson
A man standing in water wearing waders and a green shirt is holding a very large fish. His head is tilted towards the sky and he is smiling with his eyes closed.

Casting Away Trauma

The University of Essex and iCARP CIC are running a research study to investigate how angling in a peaceful, friendly setting can help military veterans and emergency service personnel living with PTSD.

Previous research has shown that angling can help reduce the symptoms of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). This project will build on this earlier research to gather more evidence that will inform NHS policy around prescribing outdoor activities to support mental health. The hope is that, in the future, this kind of help will be available to all who need it on the NHS.  By becoming a participant, you can help us to achieve this aim.

We will recruit a group of veterans and emergency service personnel. They will be randomly split into two groups (a ‘fish now’ group and a ‘waitlist’ group, who will go fishing a bit later) . This will allow us to compare and contrast the two groups, and gain a better understanding of the impact of the angling trips.

Each trip will involve a weekend angling event during summer or autumn 2024, 2025 or 2026. Participants will be provided with meals and overnight accommodation as well as angling equipment.

In the following weeks after their event we will keep in contact with participants and utilise questionnaires to find out more about the impact the trips have had.

We are now actively recruiting for this study

If you would like to find out more, please email us at or come to our information evening at the University of Essex on Tuesday 16th April. If you would like to be a participant please fill in the recruitment survey.


This project has been funded by the NHS through the National Institute for Health and Care Research.

Related papers


Someone wearing shorts standing in front of a body of water. Their right leg is a prosthetic leg with a Union Jack pattern, and their left leg has a tattoo of a hand pointing and the words "I'm with stumpy".
Impact: Improving the lives of military veterans with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder

We developed a programme that goes beyond traditional therapy to help veterans overcome the symptoms of PTSD, which in turn has helped them with employment, further education, and personal relationships.

Read our case study
Get in touch
For all queries about this project please use the email address below