Led by the National Academy of Social Prescribing, Social Prescribing Day shines a light on the positive impact social prescribing within the arts, health, sports, leisure, and the natural environment can have on people’s health and wellbeing.
We at Fishing for Schools know the positive effects of fishing and connecting with nature on health and wellbeing. Fishing offers an opportunity to connect with nature as well as those around you, to take a step away from our busy everyday lives and to be physically active and mentally present.
In Kent and the South East, our coaching team have established strong links with local community groups, encouraging people to take advantage of fishing’s health and wellbeing benefits.
Terry Peart, Disability and Mental Health Manager at Charlton Athletic Community Trust, talks to us about the impact of taking part in Fishing for Schools sessions on health and wellbeing.
Charlton Athletic Community Trust have been working with Fishing for Schools for many years, delivering fishing sessions for Kent and Medway NHS and Oxleas NHS Foundation Trust Early intervention in psychosis teams.
The sessions bring a very calming and relaxing environment for the clients, many of whom have had their lives disrupted with psychosis. Psychosis is a term used to describe when people lose some contact with reality. Common symptoms of psychosis are hearing voices or having strong beliefs that are not shared by people within your community. For example, having thoughts that someone/something is trying to harm you and your loved ones can be a short-term experience or be linked to other long-term mental health conditions.
The fishing sessions helps our groups socially interact with each other, as many clients will isolate themselves by losing touch with friends. The coaches are brilliant with teaching the clients new skills. Fishing for Schools gives our groups a chance to experience fishing for the first time. Many wouldn’t have fished before due to lack of knowledge, no equipment or lack of funds to try fishing.
Over many years of bringing groups to Fishing for Schools sessions, our clients always feedback how they enjoyed fishing; something that beforehand they would have been scared to try or never had the opportunity to try.
Having clients share experiences of what they are experiencing at the sessions really helps them understand that there are others sharing the same situation, so getting time to sit, fish and talk really is so beneficial.
Over the years we have had many clients attend that used to fish as a hobby before becoming unwell, and this gives them the opportunity to re-engage in the activity and hopefully find a way of taking it up once again.
It also gives the NHS staff a great platform to speak with their clients in new surroundings that is more beneficial than sitting in a room, as your find clients relax and its very informal.
Fishing for schools is a great partnership for us and together we can help in giving the clients the best experience.