VIDEO: Football legend David Seaman backs angling for boosting mental health in new campaign
The Rotherham-born football legend is appearing in a new Environment Agency campaign which highlights the mental health benefits of fishing.
The EA says research has found 86 per cent of anglers say making their own "catch of the day" has helped improve their mental health, and 95 per cent would recommend the sport to others for this reason.
Former England goalkeeper Seaman, who became hooked on angling during his long career at QPR, Birmingham, Manchester City and most notably, Arsenal, stars in a short film alongside two members of not-for-profit angling organisation Tackling Minds, where they discuss how fishing has helped them overcome multiple mental health related challenges such as anxiety, PTSD and the impacts of alcoholism.
“With the general pressures of life, fishing has been a great outlet for me to relax, de-stress and enjoy the many benefits of the great outdoors,” she said.
“It was a real eye-opener meeting Dave and Andy from Tackling Minds to hear the first-hand impact angling has had on changing people’s lives for the better.
“I would definitely recommend fishing as a way to manage mental health and stress levels.
“A rod licence really is an investment in self-care, with every penny going straight back into the sport, from improving fish stocks and habitats, to making fishing more accessible, or supporting the great work of organisations such as Tackling Minds to deliver life-changing programmes for those experiencing mental health challenges.”
The EA said research had found that only a quarter (25 per cent) found it easy to discuss their mental health or stress levels, and 70 per cent felt it was a subject that was more difficult for men to talk about.
Half said they found spending time outdoors helps manage their mental health and stress levels.
David Lyons, founder of Tackling Minds added: “I’m thrilled to be involved in the Environment Agency’s campaign to promote how going fishing has so many positive effects on mental health.
“Buying your rod licence enables the Environment Agency to financially support the delivery of our fishing sessions and makes a massive difference to the lives of people experiencing mental health issues.
“We are incredibly passionate about both sharing the joy of fishing and encouraging more people to experience it and all its benefits first-hand.
“Our motto - Tight Lines For Healthy Minds - says it all!”
Heidi Stone, Environment Agency fisheries partnerships manager, said: “David has been a lifelong angler and is a fantastic advocate for mental health which is why I’m delighted to have his support on this campaign.
“Mental wellbeing is just as important as physical wellbeing, and this Mental Health Awareness Week we want to remind the public of the tremendous mental benefits that fishing and being in the outdoors can bring.
“That’s also why the Environment Agency invests all rod licence income directly back into work that improves England’s fisheries and habitats and maintains the sport of angling which is vital to so many.”
You can buy or renew a rod licence can all be done online, and having a digital copy on your phone means you don’t have to worry about leaving it at home.
Visit https://www.gov.uk/fishing-licences/buy-a-fishing-licence for more information.