Organiser Adam Murray (second from left) talks to the group of around 50 people at the August mental health fishing day.
Organiser Adam Murray (second from left) talks to the group of around 50 people at the August mental health fishing day.

Fishing to help community mental health

FISHING isn't always what people think of when discussing ways to help people deal with their mental health issues.

But for Adam Murray from Maclean, a nice day on the water with family and friends, a barbecue and time to fish is exactly what he needed.

"I had a work injury in about 2013 and after a couple of years and a few surgeries I developed depressive and mental health issues myself,” he said.

After living in Brisbane for 20 years, Mr Murray and his family decided to move to the Clarence to try and help clear his head.

When Mr Murray arrived in Maclean, he did research on the support groups available in the area, he realised there wasn't much available.

"So I sort of said to my wife, I love fishing, a lot of people down there love fishing and there are a lot of mental health issues there,” he said.

"I put two and two together... and I thought I'm going to start a fishing group.”

At their first meeting, Mr Murray and his wife Michelle didn't know what to expect when they put on the first mental health fishing day in July, but around 50 people turned up.

Today, Mr Murray is holding his third fishing event since moving to the Clarence where anyone can come to the wharf at Harwood to fish, have a chat and relax.

With the help of Mr Murray's eldest son Jake, Huw Barwell, Bruce Paul and Amy Byrns, the Clarence Valley Mental Health Fishing group is continuing to grow, with over 300 people in the Facebook group.

With the focus on mental health, Mr Murray does help with information about where to find mental health services in the community.

"We do talk about mental health there briefly... and have a five or 10 minutes discussion between me and the admins to the group regarding where they can find doctors and what services are available,” he said.

Mr Murray is open to the ideas to help the group expand in the future.

The Clarence Valley Mental Health Fishing Day is on today from 12pm to 5pm at the Harwood wharf, there will be games for kids and a free lunch for everyone who comes.



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