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Mental health patients offered fishing therapy


Two hospitals in Scotland are offering their patients a chance to go fishing in the hope that it will be therapeutic.

The sport, which is known to have a calming effect on people, is being undertaken by patients being treated in Greater Glasgow and Clyde.

Some staff members from two mental health hospitals, Leverndale and Dykebar, already enjoy the benefits of fishing as a hobby.

The idea to use it as a form of therapy was devised by nursing assistant John Kelly, from Leverndale, and David Potter and Mark Aitchison, nursing assistants from Dykebar.

By taking the patients to a relaxed environment, they hoped it would have a calming effect as well as tackle the stigma that some of them face.

Mr Kelly said: “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.”

Staff take the patients to the fishery, the New Haylie Loch in Largs, in small groups once a week.


Readers' comments (3)

  • This is something that is regularly promoted for military veterans who suffer from PTSD. Often it is better done in small groups to begin with as going straight to fishing alone can be overwhelming. Hope to see this introduced to many more areas.

    Also if done by the sea or in areas where the catch can be kept it is a good way of providing cheap and nutrious food to a diet.

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  • I remember to days when we took patients rehabilitating from a stroke to social activities, their first experiance of being back into society with a level of disability, in a safe environment. That stopped years, if not decades ago. However, there has been a study recently for people now back in the community called 'Getting out of the house'. I look forward to the results, which I suspect will be encouraging. Whether such a project will be funded remains to be seen. The impact on long term funding for treating depression, the onus on carers and it's consequences, plus keeping people in the community longer and out of residential/nursing homes must be cost effective. I just hope commisioners have long term vision and not short term quick fixes. This applies to all rehabilitation and long term conditions.

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  • Staff in the unit I work in have been doing this for years, including overnight trips to Scottish lochs camping for patients who are permitted and suitable. It's one of the more sought after components of our treatment plans, and has contributed hugely to patients' recovery- and the therapeutic alliance.

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