PISCES – Promoting Inclusion and Self Confidence through Environmental Sport

Dreamstore is pleased to be able to support the PISCES (Promoting Inclusion and Self Confidence through Environmental Sport) project, working with people recovering from mental health difficulties. We provided a small grant of angling equipment, supplied through our partnership with Zebco-Browning.  As it has grown and expanded we are delighted to be able to continue with this support to provide additional equipment to new groups in and around Leeds.

To PISCES it is not just the fishing itself that is therapeutic, it is everything that goes with it, sitting and relaxing in peaceful surroundings, listening to the birds singing, all which adds to the experience.

This is not a new idea. The mental health charity MIND recently ran a campaign based around Ecotherapy, the idea that being outside helps sufferers of depression and anxiety. MIND run several green projects across the country, with members reporting a positive impact on their mental health as well as their general well being.

In 2006 “The Depression Report” drew attention to the economic cost of mental distress and lack of treatment options. 27.7 million anti-depressant prescriptions were written in 2005, at a cost of £338m. Care plans and social care assessments do not usually consider providing support for people to access green space. While not a stand-alone treatment option, outdoor activities and access to green space have an important part to play in the well being of participants.

The periods of solitude and quiet while the fish aren’t biting prove to be a helpful time of contemplation, intermittently interrupted by the sudden adrenaline rush of the fish striking. This is on top of the relaxing, peaceful day with the respite from the hustle and bustle of town. Fishing has proved to help lift mood, boost self esteem, lower stress and provides a sense of purpose and meaning. There is also the added benefit of increased social connections and increasing the general well being of participants.

Lack of sleep impacts on memory, mood, and motor skills. Members of PISCES have commented after a fishing trip that they feel more relaxed, their mood has lifted, and that they slept better that night. Angling even increases fine motor skills through tackling up. Being in peaceful surroundings also helps; a day away from the noise of civilisation works wonders!

PISCES is also promoting social inclusion, a large topic within the mental health field. Through regular outings, and being members of the Leeds District Amalgamated Society of Anglers, our members are involved with one of the largest fishing clubs in England. While we are a group specifically aimed at people with or recovering from mental illness, by being involved with other angling groups enables our members to become involved with many other anglers. This not only benefits its members, but enables members of the public to realise that the fears and prejudice that surrounds mental health problems are unjustified and inaccurate.