Killinarden Angling Initiative-KAI & Mental Health By Stephen OFlanagan
(Angling for mental health & Suicide Awareness)What is Angling for mental health ?what has it got to do with Fishing/Angling ? These are “questions ” Most people have Asked Since We Started with this project.
The answer to the first part , is quite simple it’s about creating Awareness among the angling community on the island of Ireland through our Sport/Pastime . It’s about getting people young & old talking about mental health issues & not to be afraid or ashamed to seek help. It’s about ending the (Stigma)
The most important aspect in moving this initiative forward is getting the Angling Federations , which their is a few out there to promote & Fund projects within the clubs they represent at grassroots level. Before I go on it’s important to say ,that I myself suffer with mental health illnesses most of my life. As have many people, we would have come across who you’s Fishing as a distraction as a way of relaxing from the strain’s of every day life this is the person we call the pleasure Angler.
(What Has Mental Health Got To Do With Angling/Fishing)
he truth is or the short answer is absolutely nothing. The real question should be what are the benefits of Angling/Fishing to a person who suffers with mental illness. Not forgetting to mention their are so many illnesses that come under mental health.
Firstly we are presumably dealing with a person who is a patient or is being treated within the local community mental health centre.
KAIs first point of contact would be the local mental health community nurse or other mental health professionals .
Introduction’s on both sides is important especially for the person or group whichever be the case building a trust .
- So what are the benefits the first one has to be your out of your house meaning your not isolating your self. Secondly you have decided you want to take part in learning a new Skill. So in turn this will help with your concentration . In learning how to set up your rod , real & end tackle & landing & Handling a fish you have just caught returning the fish safely to the water gives you a sense of achievement it also helps with social aspects of our lives, while understanding meeting new people is not always easy, especially for those who suffer with some form of social anxiety. Isolation
- Socially active
- A sense of Achievement
- The decision you made results in the above.
So for those of us who have ever taken part in cognitive behavioral Therapy or other theriomorphic sessions, were you go to your safe place try using fishing as a tool you have all the different types of sounds, wind, rain water birds singing, all the sounds of nature at its very best now you can’t buy that kind of therapy.
Fishing For Pieta
This Event was Organised by us in Killinarden Angling Initiative-Kai , As far as we know it was a first event of its kind in Ireland.
It took us all most a year to put together, Oakland’s lake in new Ross was the venue. The support we got was absolutely Amazing , from Tackle shops, local businesses right down to the transportation was all free of charge, including Wexford CoCo supplied food on the day .
58 Anglers Some from clubs some were just individuals ,who wanted to take part in the competition & Show their support for Angling for mental health & Suicide Awareness. KAI with the help of all those,who took part Raised €4000 for pieta house. It was truly an amazing day an event I don’t think anyone of us had witnessed before.
A days Fishing with 12 outpatient’s From Saint Vincent’s Hospital.
A month after fishing for pieta ,we Organised , to take 12 outpatient’s from Saint Vincent’s on Dublin’s north side along with their community mental health nurse, back down to Oaklands lake in new Ross co Wexford for a days fishing, some of the lads never heald a fishing rod, before , We had enough KAI volunteers with us on the day for all eventualities. It was another unbelievable day , the lads including the nurse loved every minute of the day , we had our fare share of tangles & were kept busy by our guest for the day . It costs us money for such, trips but to see the lads enjoy the day, it was money well spent by KAI .
Dr Cat Hughes of pieta House Support for Killinarden angling Initiative.
We are hoping to have a study,done in the near future of the Effects of Angling/Fishing on a person mental health. Hopefully with the help of Dr Cat we can find a student willing to take this on as a thesis. This is a work in progress. Any help or ideas are more than welcome!!