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Mental health patients give fishing therapy the thumbs up

May 30, 2011 11:13 AM

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Fishing is known for its calming and therapeutic benefits and now this popular pastime is proving to be a winner with mental health patients in Greater Glasgow and Clyde.

Staff at two NHSGGC mental health hospitals hit upon the idea of fishing therapy based on their own love of the sport. 

And now their innovative idea is making real in-roads in the health and wellbeing of patients at the two hospitals – Leverndale and Dykebar.

John Kelly, a Nursing  Assistant from Leverndale and David Potter and Mark Aitchison, Nursing Assistants, from Dykebar,  thought taking patients out into the tranquil environment would not only be relaxing and calming but would also help to reduce the stigmatisation that some patients encounter and also promote community integration.

John explained: “We all find angling extremely therapeutic and thought that some of our patients would really benefit from it.  We work with patients who have enduring mental health problems and long term life limiting conditions and we wanted to do something for them that would improve their quality of life and provide a change to their everyday routine.

 “We had brilliant feedback from our managers who were quick to help us establish a plan – the results have surpassed all our hopes.  The patients love it so much even the wind and rain hasn’t put them off!”

Staff take the patients fishing in small groups of two or three once a week.  The patients have learnt new life skills and experienced new and exhilarating challenges which have resulted in a real sense of personal achievement in them all.

David said: “We always go to the same fishery - The New Haylie Loch in Largs- and we’ve developed a great relationship with the owner.  He now reserves us a really good spot and helps the group set up their lines and rods.

“Part of the project was to encourage social integration and reduce barriers and it has been so rewarding to see this happen.  Aside from the input of the fishery owner regular anglers have also time and time again displayed acceptance of the group and encouraged integration and inclusion. It’s been a really inspiring journey.”

Calum MacLeod, NHSGGC Head of Mental Health, said; “We are tremendously proud of what the teams at both hospitals have achieved.  Everyone, including our patients, are incredibly motivated and the resultant benefit to the patient’s health and wellbeing has been fantastic.

“The fishing programme is a very positive step in reducing feelings of isolation and improving the quality of life for this group of patients.”


Notes to editors
Photographs of the fishing group are available from the press office.

For more information contact  NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde Communications on 0141 201 4429 or email [email protected]

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Last Updated: 06 February 2015