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Holistic Health Services NT podcast

Dec 8, 2019

Tammy Hatherill speaks with Michael of Reeling Veterans (fishing for therapy) on a topic close to her!
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