Wellways – A pathway to improving mental health through fishing.

We fish we care

Wellways – A pathway to improving mental health through fishing.

The Fishcare program has had many successes over the years, from seeing children catch their first
fish, empowering people to take up a lifelong pursuit of fishing, helping people spend more time
outdoors and even as simply as soaking in some vitamin D. Recreational fishing is one of the most
participated in activities across the globe and for most anglers, it can be a means for just catching
dinner. But for others, its so much more than that. It provides an outlet for people to be in nature
and focus their minds on something else other than the day-to-day worries.

It’s documented that fishing can alleviate stress, be mindful, and even improve people’s mental
health. With all of this in mind, we have had the pleasure of working with a group in the Geelong &
Bellarine, Wellways. This organisation has so many aspects to it, including services that help people
with their mental health and wellbeing, NDIS and other supports, suicide prevention and recovery,
family, and carer services and more.

This is why Wellways is an impactful partner of Fishcare Victoria. Particularly through
their mental health and well-being service. This program is designed to offer support for individuals
grappling with mental health issues or concerns, aiding them in developing coping strategies and
fostering recovery within their community.

We have been working with the group now for the past couple of years and have had dozens of
people come through the program. Some have very little to no experience in fishing, and others
have had lots but have needed a pathway to find fishing again. And that’s what this partnership has

Our collaboration with Wellways has proven to be mutually enriching, with participants discovering
the therapeutic benefits of fishing to practice mindfulness and relaxation.

Our Geelong and Bellarine Facilitator, Mitch McMaster, has seen firsthand the impact that this
partnership has had on both his own life but also, the participants. As an avid angler himself, he has
always loved fishing and the places it takes him. But only through working with Wellways has he
been able to see directly how much it positively effects people including himself. “It seems very
trivial, but until you see what fishing provides someone else, do you understand what fishing does for
yourself. It has ultimately guided my life and I now fully understand why” – Mitch McMaster.

Remarkably, some individuals have become volunteers with us following their involvement in the
program, underscoring the positive impact fishing has had on their lives. One of which has even, gone so far to book multiple trips on charter boats around Port Phillip Bay but has also gone too far north Queensland to explore fishing up there.

We look forward to continuing this partnership and trying to positively impact and change people’s
live through fishing.