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Football legend David Seaman highlights the mental health benefits when you get into fishing in a new campaign

  • Seaman appears in the latest Environment Agency campaign which highlights the mental health benefits of fishing and reminds anglers to buy a rod licence
  • New research reveals 86% of anglers say fishing has helped improve their mental health
  • 95% of anglers say they would recommend the sport to others to help improve their mental health

Ahead of this Mental Health Awareness Week, legendary England goalkeeper David Seaman has teamed up with the Environment Agency in a new campaign to highlight the positive impact fishing can have on mental health and wellbeing.

As part of the campaign, Seaman stars in a short film alongside two members of not-for-profit angling organisation Tackling Minds, where they discuss how fishing has helped them overcome multiple mental health related challenges such as anxiety, PTSD and the impacts of alcoholism.

The film comes off the back of research conducted by Angling Trust which reveals that 86% of anglers say fishing has helped improve symptoms of stress or anxiety, and 95% would recommend fishing to help manage mental health or stress levels. The research, which surveyed 5,500 British anglers, found that over half (52%) say that since fishing, they have found it easier to talk about their mental health or stress levels and 79% say the sport relaxes them.

In comparison, an Environment Agency study conducted with men in the UK  [1] , found that only a quarter (25%) find it easy to discuss their mental health, and 70% think it’s a subject that’s more difficult for men to talk about. The research also revealed that half (50%) of men say that they find spending time outdoors helps manage their mental health.

David Seaman commented:

“With the general pressures of life, fishing has been a great outlet for me to relax, de-stress and enjoy the many benefits of the great outdoors. It was a real eye-opener meeting Dave and Andy from Tackling Minds to hear the first-hand impact angling has had on changing people’s lives for the better.

I would definitely recommend fishing as a way to manage mental health and stress levels. A rod licence really is an investment in self-care, with every penny going straight back into the sport, from improving fish stocks and habitats, to making fishing more accessible, or supporting the great work of organisations such as Tackling Minds to deliver life-changing programmes for those experiencing mental health challenges. Rod licence renewal has never been easier, it can all be done online and having a digital copy on your phone means you don’t have to worry about leaving it at home.”

David Lyons, Founder of Tackling Minds added:

“I’m thrilled to be involved in the Environment Agency’s campaign to promote how going fishing has so many positive effects on mental health. Buying your rod licence enables the Environment Agency to financially support the delivery of our fishing sessions and makes a massive difference to the lives of people experiencing mental health issues.

We are incredibly passionate about both sharing the joy of fishing and encouraging more people to experience it and all its benefits first-hand. Our motto – “Tight Lines For Healthy Minds” – says it all! ”

Heidi Stone, Environment Agency Fisheries Partnerships Manager, said:

“David has been a life-long angler and is a fantastic advocate for mental health which is why I’m delighted to have his support on this campaign.

Mental wellbeing is just as important as physical wellbeing, and this Mental Health Awareness Week we want to remind the public of the tremendous mental benefits that fishing and being in the outdoors can bring. That’s also why the Environment Agency invests all rod licence income directly back into work that improves England’s fisheries and habitats and maintains the sport of angling which is vital to so many.”

To find out about more about angling and mental health and wellbeing, and how fishing is available on prescription from Drs, GPs and other healthcare providers in some areas, go to our Get Fishing for Wellbeing pages at

To find out more information on when you need a fishing licence, and how to buy one, visit:

The Get Fishing campaign to get more people fishing more often is funded by the Environment Agency from fishing licence income as part of the National Angling Strategic Services contract with the Angling Trust, and Sport England. Children under 13 do not need a licence, and licences for children aged between 13 and 16 are free but you still need to register and receive a licence in order to go fishing. You can get a licence for the full year, for 8 days (ideal for holidays!) or just a day’s fishing.

NOTE: Although young children who are under 13 year old do not need a licence to fish, the person supervising them needs the proper fishing licence to take hold of the rod or to help the child fish with it.

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