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We all know fishing is relaxing but here’s how it can
reduce PTSD in military veterans…
When Angling Trust Head of Participation Clive Copeland heard about
the work that iCARP does to reduce
mental health issues in military veterans, he immediately saw a connection with several Government outcomes his sport is funded to deliver…
iCARP, the appropriate shortening
of ‘Investigating Countryside and
Angling Research Projects’, was
founded in 2018 by Dr Mark Wheeler
and Dr Nicholas Cooper to continue
his research on how being active outdoors can lessen PTSD, depression,
anxiety, stress and re-adjustment to
work and society after armed service.
i C A R P ’s s t u d i e s i n v o l v e t a k i n g
groups of military veterans who are
struggling with mental health issues
away for fishing trips. They are supplied with all the tackle and bait they
need as well as having the support of
qualified angling coaches and mental
health professionals in attendance.
Over 100 men, women and their children have been through the experience. Testimonies about iCARP from
family members include: “… it saved
them from taking their own life” and
“…without you he would have taken
his life…”.
Now, the Angling Trust, the sport’s
governing body in England, has
stepped in to contribute backing for
iCARP with financial support that
might make weekly fishing trips for
veterans a reality. Clive Copeland
said: “Defra’s 25-year Plan for the
Environment, the Sport England
Strategy for Sport and the justlaunched National Angling Strategy
all reference the contribution that
sport and the outdoors make in
improving the mental health and
wellbeing of individuals, and our
sport of angling makes a huge contribution to this outcome.”
Dr Wheeler’s former six years of
studies with military veterans had
incorporated horse riding, falconry
and archery, but it was angling that
stood out as having the best results
when dealing with the broken military bonds, mental health stigma, isolation and reluctance to discuss
trauma that his patients
reported. Clive added: “The Angling
Trust hopes to ensure angling can
make a real difference to the lives of
trauma survivors by helping fund
research into this vitally important
area and providing support to Dr
Wheeler and his team to deliver the
iCARP programme.” The Angling
Trust’s contribution will be mostly
used to upskill iCARP’s growing
workforce of willing volunteers,
specifically by training angling sports
coaches. This will enable iCARP to
reach its goal of running weekly fishing trips that could mean over 250
participants experiencing the intervention annually.”
Dr Wheeler commented on the support from this new key partner:
“iCARP are really proud to have the
backing of such a prestigious organisation as the Angling Trust. The
finance to help further studies and to
train our volunteers and make them
fully qualified licensed angling
coaches is invaluable. The Angling
Trust’s belief and shared vision of
what the wonderful sport of angling
offers to people’s wellbeing demonstrates its passion for this much-loved
pastime. Our collaboration will help
enable change for the people we work
with – the survivors of trauma – so
that iCARP can continue to make a
1) A beautiful shot from a weeklong iCARP study in France, 2018.
2) Not all wounds are visible… The
interventions iCARP provide help
alleviate mental health distress for the
3) The restoration of broken military
bonds is an important component of
the project.
4) While the size of the fish does not
matter, the size of the achievement
does! n


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