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Len Thompson, a returned WWI veteran, believed in the benefits of being outside. In fact, his doctor prescribed it. In papers dated 1956, Len wrote; "It is fortunate for me that I lived within a few miles of Katepwa Lake, where fishing was always good. In my Boyhood days we fished as often as we could get to the lake with horses, but didn’t take it seriously until after the First World War. During that scrap I collected a variety of wounds, gas, and malaria that left me in poor shape. Doctors’ orders were to keep in the open as much as possible so I wasn’t loath to spend a lot of time travelling the shores of the lakes in the famed Qu’Appelle chain, just fishing and forgetting."
These days, significant research has gone into the topic of mental health.
According to an article researched by the Canadian Mental Health Association, "It has been proven that being in green spaces (like forests, gardens and parks) can significantly reduce cortisol (stress hormone), and raise endorphin levels and dopamine production (both of which may promote “happiness”)... In other words, getting outside and being in nature are a winning combination for your psychological and physical well-being." (Source: CMHA.ca)
In 2022, Angling Direct (UK) partnered with Anglia Ruskin University and the charity, Tackling Minds, to conduct an online study on fishing and mental health "The survey found that those who go fishing are less likely to self-harm, attempt suicide or report anxiety." (Source: Angling International).
There's no arguing that being outside is good for you. Time to go fishing...
This was going to be a fishing blog but ultimately turned into a mental health blog
Written by Al Benoit, Len Thompson & Northern King Brand Ambassador
I truly believe that fishing, hunting and the outdoors was part of the solution. My love for fishing was second to none. When I did not want to do that, there was a problem. In the beginning, my friends dragged me out fishing and my family pushed me out the door. I began to realize getting back to my roots was the key but I had to return slowly. It was like starting a workout regime. One day out and I was exhausted. Slowly but surely I was able to regain that strength to the point I am now competing in fishing tournaments again, fishing multiple days and loving life. I’m still not fishing as much as I would like but it is a progression and I'm hoping this year will be another step forward.
The complications of PTSD rear their ugly head now and again but I use the tools I have learned to combat the issues when they arise… one of those tools includes a Len Thompson 5 of diamonds and a day on the lake.
Mental health issues can happen to anyone at any time so please take it seriously, respect others having issues and to take care of your own mental health.
Hope to see you on the water.
Guiding, Making Memories & Mental Health
On Episode 5 of the Made for Memories Podcast, Brad & Jess chat with Adam Gamble (Adam’s Angling Adventures). Adam talks about his career as a firefighter, the adventure of opening his guiding business and dives into the important conversation of mental health and the healing aspect of angling and disconnecting in the great outdoors. Listen on Apple Podcasts, Spotify or in the player below.
Canadian Mental Health Resources
If you're in immediate danger, call 911.
If you or someone you know is thinking about suicide, call Talk Suicide Canada at 1-833-456-4566. Support is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. For residents of Quebec, call 1-866-277-3553.
The Government of Canada
A list of Canadian mental health resources including support targeted towards Youth as well as First Nations, Inuit, and Métis Peoples. Learn more: canada.ca
The Canadian Mental Health Association
With 330 community locations, CMHA is a nationwide organization that promotes mental health and supports people recovering from mental illness. Learn more: https://cmha.ca/
Provides a range of clinically facilitated programs specifically developed to support the unique needs of Veterans, First Responders and their families. Learn more: https://woundedwarriors.ca/
In Canada, men have a suicide rate three times higher than women. This i=men’s suicide prevention campaign is a call to action for men, by men, to drive authentic conversation. Learn more: www.buddyup.ca/learn/