Surf Action Paves Recovery Pathway for Veterans with PTSD

November 30, 2021

Surf Action Paves Recovery Pathway for Veterans with PTSD

Under the Positive Pathways programme, Surf Action was awarded £35,000 from the Trust. With this award, Surf Action ran six Ocean-Therapy Courses to support the physical and psychological wellbeing needs in the veteran community. The project ‘Blue Health Recovery Project ‘ was set at the stunning beach, Gwithian, on the north Cornwall coast. It has been a fantastic opportunity for veterans to socialise, have fun, boost resilience and make friends.

One of the beneficiaries was JI, he had recently left the army and was struggling with his psychological health. JI had been diagnosed with PTSD whilst in service and had undergone several rounds of ‘Cognitive Behavioural Therapy’ in the hope of being able to remain in the army, however, this proved not to be possible. 

He was referred to Surf Action by Department of Community Mental Health (Plymouth) in late 2019. JI was put on the Surf Action structured ocean-therapy course with his own dedicated surf mentor, another veteran, with lived experience of his condition. 

Surf and Talk

The water sessions involved a lot of ‘surf and talk’ with mentors and through this period, those veterans in the project benefited from experiencing: 

  • A sense of progress through gaining new skills and knowledge
  • Social interaction, friendship, solidarity and peer support
  • Progress in psychological and physical health, fitness and healthy eating
  • Enhanced Self-Confidence and Emotional Resilience. 

Healthy and Happy, Outdoor Family Days

Whilst attending the course, JI started to bring his family to the beach on his therapy days. Whilst he was in the water with his mentor, his wife would take the children on the beach nearby to play. Therapy days then also became healthy and happy, outdoor family days, which everyone benefited from. 

“The time myself and my family have shared during the sessions has been nothing short of amazing and is extremely special to me. I can’t thank you all enough, not only for the time on the family sessions, but the time afforded to me individually. It has impacted me greatly and helped me more than anything else.” 

JI, Veteran beneficiary of the Trust’s Positive Pathways Programme

JI’s wife has also now taken up gig rowing and wild swimming as she found being in, or around, the ocean so beneficial. 

Veteran JI still contacts his surf mentor regularly and tries to come down for a surf and a chat whenever he can. JI still faces challenges but knows he and his family are in a better position to deal with them. 

To find out more about the Positive Pathway’s programme, please view the programme page

To see if your organisation could be eligible for funding from the Trust, please view our open programmes page