Dec 8, 2019
Tammy Hatherill speaks with Michael
of Reeling Veterans (fishing for therapy) on a topic close to
The idea that reaching out to
veterans and asking “would you like to go fishing?” may help them
to have a chat, open up or quite simply just get them out of the
house. Veteran, Michael Hurren, from Darwin suffers PTSD after two
deployments to Afghanistan. He was actively seeking help for his
condition and found it frustrating that there was very little
support for veterans with mental illness in Darwin. Lack of funding
was always the excuse given. “Call Lifeline” he was usually told.
The only time he felt completely relaxed was when he was out on his
boat “wetting a line”. He used fishing as a form of therapy.
Michael was constantly reading and
hearing about fellow veterans taking their own lives. Time and time
again he would read the same story. Young veterans either being
denied treatment or their support being taken away after they were
deemed “better”. The turning point was when Michael found out that
another young veteran had taken his own life. Michael knew and
served with him in Afghanistan and his death hit Michael very hard.
He felt he needed to do something to try and stop this epidemic.
This is when Reeling Veterans was born. Through sponsorship and
fundraising Michael raised the funds to get a team into the Barra
Nationals, a major barramundi fishing tournament held at the mighty
Daly River about 2 hours south of Darwin. From there Reeling
Veterans has gone from strength to strength. A news story was run
about them and the response was overwhelming! They were contacted
by so many people wanting to be involved and people who needed
help. The wonderful people from Dhipirri Barra & Sportfishing
Lodge (in Arnhemland, Northern Territory) have donated 4 trips per
year to groups of veterans. This is an amazing gift and the first
trip is due to take place at the end of October.
So, what started as an idea to put a
team in a fishing tournament, has now become a not-for-profit
organisation who run monthly fishing outings for anyone who would
like to come along. They also hold monthly catch ups at restaurants
around Darwin. Reeling Veterans is about mateship. It’s about
people getting together in a non-judgemental environment where they
feel comfortable and can talk about their problems, if they want
to. We have one member who, before hearing about Reeling Veterans,
never left the house. Now he doesn’t miss an event. If Reeling
Veterans can help even just one person think twice before taking
their own life, then that is a success story.
Enjoy today's podcast