Beating men's mental health disorder one cast at a time

THE trek can be hard, gruelling even, as you overcome rocky terrain, or long-since trodden paths along frontiers barely recognisable.

But then you find it.

The river stretches out in front of you, the line in your hand hums as you cast out the fly, and the world seems to slip away. Peace, calmness and, finally, the words, like the river, stream out.

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This could be the perfect fishing trip. This could be the perfect way for men to break the barrier of mental health.

It's actually both.

"We're committed to providing men with an environment where they not only explore amazing locations on the mountain bike, or with the fishing rod at hand but also use these experiences as the platform to explore new frontiers within themselves," The Fly Program founder Matt Tripet said.

The Fly Program founder Matt Tripet.
The Fly Program founder Matt Tripet. The Fly Program

Tripet, who began the program after the suicide of his brother-in-law, said it's designed to help men affected by post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), depression, anxiety and/or suicide.

And it has caught the attention of politicians with the NSW Government announcing a $41,000 boost to the program.

"Matt isn't just casting a line with men in mountain streams, he is 'casting' awareness and helping men find their voice to speak up when times get tough," Minister for Primary Industries Niall Blair said.

"Fly fishing requires patience, a calm and focused mind and a willingness to learn, but through that process you are guaranteed to feel more grounded and more connected with the world around you."

The Fly Program founder Matt Tripet takes an angler through the steps of fly fishing.
The Fly Program founder Matt Tripet takes an angler through the steps of fly fishing. The Fly Program

Minister for Mental Health Tanya Davies said suicide affects men at a rate three times greater than women and men are less likely to access mental health services.

"This program means men can seek advice or help in a less daunting way," she said.

"The outdoors creates a relaxed opportunity to share their stories with other men who may be experiencing similar challenges."

For more information on The Fly Program visit here. If you or someone you know needs help call MensLine Australia on 1300 78 99 78 or for crisis support phone Lifeline 24/7 on 13 11 14 or visit www.lifeline.org.au .



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