How a Colorado Nonprofit is Helping Men Fight Mental Illness by Taking Them Fishing

Article here. Excerpt:

'We’re on a pristine section of private water in the middle section of the Colorado River at a fishing retreat hosted by Fishing the Good Fight, a Denver nonprofit founded in November 2019. The organization uses fly fishing to support men struggling with their mental health. Having never heard of a program like this, I was curious to learn more. I contacted founder Jennings Hester, and he invited me to visit on the second day of a weekend retreat in June the group was hosting.

The retreat involves a licensed counselor leading group therapy sessions and a team of volunteers (some of whom attended a previous retreat in April 2021) serving as pseudo-fishing guides for six participants who have a range of backgrounds, ages, professions, and fly-fishing-competency levels.
Todd tells me the weekend has been exactly what he needed. For years, he’d been searching for mental health support, primarily for PTSD. He’d also always wanted to learn how to fly fish. With this retreat, he could do both. He’d sought treatment years ago when he returned from his sixth deployment to Afghanistan, but he struggled to connect with any therapists.

“I went to some counseling, but no one understands,” he says. “You’re going in, feeling like another number, and you’ve got to explain your military experience—what you dealt with. After my third or fourth session, it was zero gain. I was probably more frustrated than when I started.”'

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