Warwick man supporting others tackling mental health problems through fishing
A man from Warwick has started a new initiative to help support adults going through mental health issues through fishing.
Rich Smyth, 31, is using his own personal experiences to help others through his 'A fisherman’s Friend' initiative.
He said: “My mission is to help and support adults with mental health through the sport of fishing. People with mental health die younger and a greater proportion have poor physical health compared to the general population.
“I have suffered from mental health myself and want to help others. I had lots of support from doctors and my family and I went fishing maybe three or four times a week and found it a therapy in itself.
“My goal is to help people by getting them out on the bank and spend a day fishing with me, to have someone they can talk to not just for the day but anytime they need me.
“I want to make a difference to the lives of people. Fishing has been a great help towards me getting better in my mental health and I want others to feel the great benefits fishing provides.”
Rich, who is a member of The Angling Trust, the LACC (Lure Anglers Canal Club) and the Warwick and District Angling Association, launched his initiative a couple of weeks ago on social media.
“I have had a good response with shared and I have reached more than 30,000 people. I have been out fishing with a couple of people so far. People have also messaged just for a chat.”
Currently, Rich sorts everything for the fishing session and he is currently paying for most items but is on the look- out for help in terms of tackle and money donations.
He said: “I am unemployed at the moment due to my mental health but am spending what spare money I do have to buy people fishing permits, rod licences and lunch when I take them fishing which I do happily but it limits the amount of people I can help.
“I have had some help from Kingfisher Pools who provide a safe place for us to fish and Tony Butler from Bailey’s in Warwick has been a great with advice and helping me to contact people that may want to get on board.
“I have had a donation of tackle from a very kind lady that lives in Warwick and am hoping to receive more tackle and money donations to help pay for things like rod licences and permits.
“I am also hoping to organise some charity fishing days/matches to raise money for the Mental Health Foundation and A Fisherman’s Friend.”
As well as helping people in the local area Rich is hoping that his initiative will inspire other people and clubs to do something similar.
He said: “My aim is to have the same concept in lots of different areas all over the country and it would be great if other anglers could do the same sort of thing. “If clubs, tackle shops and companies and bait companies were to get involved that would be amazing.
“It is not just fishing – it’s sharing a passion and showing someone a skill and being a companion to help people through the hard times they are going through.”