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Fishing the Good Fight: Using Fishing To Advocate Men’s Mental Health

The struggle for men’s mental health has never been more important. In a society where men are taught to “suck it up” and not talk about their insecurities, vulnerabilities and struggles, we find that men are not only less likely to reach out for help, but are also victims of 4 out of 5 completed suicides. As exceptionally outlined in The Mask You Live In, a documentary exploring the struggle of men’s mental health, men often wear a mask that tells the world, I don’t need any help, I’m invulnerable to the stressors of our modern society and even if you ask, I won’t really tell you anyway. As a therapist that specializes in men’s issues, I see this far too often. Men end up in my office often as a last resort, their partners may have said enough is enough, they may have found themselves coping poorly, abusing substances and/or, accordingly getting into trouble in their home or work environments. For these reasons, men’s mental health needs an advocate, something that promotes and informs men, as well as normalizes the struggle for wellness. Luckily, non-profit programs like Fishing the Good Fight are stepping up to fight for men’s mental health, while normalizing wellness through a common bond that many men share in their passion for fishing.

Fishing the Good Fight is a non-profit, founded by passionate fisherman that have stepped up to fight the good fight in promoting mental health and wellbeing for men. This organization ties its own high-quality flies and sells fishing gear with 100% of its proceeds going to support men’s mental health through mental health service providers and other non-profit affiliates. Additionally, through their membership programs, members can benefit from regular fishing gear, monthly drawings, and discounts to their online store, all while supporting men’s mental health and in turn fishing the good fight. While this important non-profit was only founded a year ago, they have made significant strides to support men in need of mental health support and advocacy. In their first year, Fishing the Good Fight was able to run a targeted ad campaign in conjunction with ManTherapy.org to men at risk for depression and/ or suicide. Over 300 men took the ‘head inspection test’ to provide an initial diagnosis of any potential mental illnesses or substance abuse issues. After taking the test, they were then directed towards mental health providers specializing in working with men and men’s issues. This sort of direction in suggesting services can be a game-changer when it comes to getting men the wellness support that they need. Continuing to support these efforts, including advocacy and the suggestion of supportive services, has the potential to turn the tide for men in the mental health epidemic

Additionally, Fishing the Good Fight works to support organizations that are providing accessible mental health services to men. Recently, they were able to donate $2,000 to the People House scholarship fund, an organization that offers affordable counseling services in the metropolitan area of Denver, Colorado. This donation alone provided approximately 50 therapy sessions for those who don’t have the means to pay for much-needed support. In 2021, Fishing the Good Fight will establish their own scholarship fund to subsidize mental health costs for men. They have already raised $8,000 towards this initiative which will help pay for therapy and/ or wellness retreats to support men’s mental health. In conjunction with myself, they will run weekend retreats that combine therapeutic and educational sessions, as well as fly fishing lessons and camaraderie amongst small groups of men. While therapy referrals can support men in healing from trauma, depression, anxiety, or other related mental health concerns, these retreats aim to support men in creating an ongoing support network where men can rely on one another to sustain wellness in their lives.

In a world where many men struggle with mental health issues and additionally lack the support to access these services, Fishing the Good Fight steps up to the plate for men’s mental health. In normalizing mental health challenges through the common bond of fishing, advocating for services, and at times even footing the bill, Fishing the Good Fight looks to be a game-changer in the world of men’s mental health. If you or someone you know might be interested in participating or helping to support this impactful organization, feel free to check out their website at www.FishingTheGoodFight.org and purchase gear, sign-up for a membership or make a donation.

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Photo credit: iStock

 



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