Join Richard Cullen from Deptherapy for the final part of his Blog about the charity’s recent expedition to Roots Red Sea, El Quseir, Egypt.
Deptherapy expeditions do not just magically happen, they need planning and they need funding. This expedition was funded by our long-term partners the Veterans’ Foundation. The funding is part of a grant they awarded us for programmes this year, which were then put on hold because of COVID.
All charities in the Armed Forces’ Sector are struggling for funds. Deptherapy desperately needs support going forward and every penny counts.
We know what we do works and at the end of this blog you will find details of the research studies into Deptherapy’s programmes and how they impact on the lives of our beneficiaries. This includes details that are hot off the press about the latest study that reports that what we offer through scuba diving and 24/7 support has benefits beyond those found in other sporting rehabilitation programmes.
Well tomorrow we fly home, late in the evening with the journey home for some of the guys who live up North taking around 15 hours after leaving Roots.
We want to make the most of today but with the tide running we are not going to be able to dive until later this morning which means only two dives today.
Things, however are really busy over at the dive centre with Swars and Oatsie putting their sidemount kit together for their training dives with Steve Rattle leading to their RAID sidemount qualification. It has been nice to be able to offer the guys this extra training, given the amount of work they have put in this week. They have needed to get through their theory quickly but given the RADI online learning system this has not been too arduous.
Steve came diving with us yesterday to get some more photos and was really amazed at the progress that Corey had made. He was quite open in his praise, as in his view Corey has gone from a non-diver to being a very competent OW diver capable of diving, unsupervised, with a buddy. Praise indeed.
Other than the sidemount course we are diving as a group today: Corey, Keiron, Michael, Moudi and me. Corey has been given some tasks – SMB deployment on both dives and the afternoon dive will be a ‘naturalist dive’. Guy Henderson has set Corey a task: ‘to identify three species of fish and record the time into the dive and the depth at which each one was spotted’. Guy runs Marine Biology courses on the reef and knows where the fish are to be found, how long into the dive, and at what time.
The two Toms are getting put through their paces. They have walked their cylinders down to the entry point, but Steve sends them back to the dive centre to collect other kit they should have brought with them.
Our general dive goes well and the sidemount guys appear from their sidemount dive some 90 minutes after dipping their heads under the water.
Lots of bubbly chat at lunchtime, a group of really happy divers. Corey really has benefited from the week and over lunch thanked the team for making him a diver. He has very quickly become part of the family and after returning home he published an amazing post on Facebook about his experience. Corey really gets Deptherapy and had soon realised that we see past mental and physical injuries and see the person inside and work with that person. He also realised that we want beneficiaries to see their fellow beneficiaries in the same light. He knows he now has another ‘family’ – a family of brothers in arms who have two things in common, they served their country and they have suffered life changing injuries or illnesses.
Back into the water for the afternoon dive and Corey identifies the fish and records the details on a slate. The two Tom’s complete their second dive and qualify as RAID Sidemount Divers. Great!
Kit packed away and it is time to return to the camp for a few well-earned last night drinks.
I am often asked why we use Roots as our exclusive base for diving. I have mentioned before that it offers us an ideal retreat, away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. We are secluded and there are no distractions such as late-night bars etc.
The second reason is the amazing welcome we receive from Steve, Clare, Moudi and the team. We have been going to Roots since 2014 and many of the staff have become good friends, they understand our needs and are the friendliest people you could ever wish to meet.
The third reason is the huge investment Steve and Clare have made in making the resort and dive centre accessible for those with physical injuries including those who need to use wheelchairs. All our beneficiaries can enjoy Roots and, in fact, love it here. The reef is perfect for us and in non-COVID times we can travel to the Salem Express and other dive sites to enjoy more of the Red Sea experience.
After discussions with the team I was very proud to be able to tell Corey that his progress had been such that we were inviting him on the Armed Forces Covenant Fund Trust sponsored two-week Marine Biology Course at Roots in June 2021. There is lots of homework to undertake under the guidance of Dr Debbie McNeill of Open Oceans and Corey will be sent the Red Sea Guide which is the basis for study.
While on that programme, Corey with fellow beneficiary Dale Mallin, will complete his RAID Advanced 35 course. This all builds to a 10-day Red Sea liveaboard in 2022, onboard Roots’ new boat Big Blue where 18 beneficiaries will compare the coral and aquatic life on the wrecks of the SS Thistlegorm and the less known SS Turkia that is to be found in the Gulf of Suez and is rarely dived.
Paul Rose, our Vice President, is supporting the programme and is seeking the support of the UN and the Royal Geographical Society. A comprehensive report will be submitted to our partners in the project and to the Egyptian Authorities.
What we do works:
In recent years there have been three academic studies into our work:
2018 – A study by a team from the University of Sheffield Medical School.
2019 – A study by The Centre of Trauma at Nottingham University.
Both these studies reported very positively on Deptherapy’s work both underwater but also in terms of the provision of 24/7 support.
The following is from our press release which was issued on 26th October:
‘A new study into Scuba Diving Rehabilitation Charity Deptherapy’s approach to supporting Armed Forces veterans with psychological injuries such as Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) through the medium of scuba diving has been carried out by Petra Walker in conjunction with Hanna Kampman of the Posttraumatic Growth Research Unit at the University of East London.
This study, which used Interpretive Phenomenological Analysis (IPA), demonstrates that scuba diving has rehabilitation benefits beyond those found in other forms of sporting rehabilitation exercise. IPA is a qualitative methodology that examines the experiences of participants and has been used in previous studies of Posttraumatic Growth (PTG) in para-athletes.
Petra is an experienced diver herself and was exploring the wellbeing aspects of scuba diving as part of her Masters in Applied Positive Psychology and Coaching Psychology when she came across a previous study on Deptherapy. Past studies have mainly focused on the medical aspects of diving, so the opportunity to examine the mental health side of rehabilitative scuba diving was impossible to ignore. The full study is currently embargoed until it is published at a future date in an academic journal, but it follows similar academic research into the work of Deptherapy by the University of Sheffield Medical School (2018) and the University of Nottingham (2019).’
This is amazing news and sets us apart from other sporting rehabilitation programmes.
We are currently working with our VP Richard Castle who is a Consultant Psychologist and our Dive Medicine Advisor Mark Downs to identify further areas of psychological and physical dive related research.
We end the week on a happy note. A young man who has learned to dive properly with a RAID OW 20 certification, a new RAID Master Rescue Diver, two new RAID Sidemount Divers, 5 new RAID O2 Providers, many assessments for our DMs but most of all a week of learning, of making new friendships, renewing old friendships, and building on our family ethos.
For us, Deptherapy is a journey, a journey that continues to push boundaries in the use of scuba diving in the rehabilitation of those suffering life changing mental and/or physical challenges. On our journey we want to change the way the scuba diving industry views diving for those with disabilities.
In the new year, we will be launching, with our diver training agency partners RAID, a new and exciting adaptive teaching programme that will offer diving to the disabled community. We can’t wait to share it with you!
Find out more about the work of Deptherapy and Deptherapy Education at www.deptherapy.co.uk
Should I Switch Scuba Diving Training Agencies For 2021? (Watch Video)
Thousands of Dive Instructors are out of work, due to Covid-19. Many will not return to scuba diving. And this has the dive training agencies very worried.
For the first time in my career, instead of the usual ‘don’t forget to re-new your membership!’ emails, the main Dive training agencies are aggressively pursuing dive instructors and trying to convince them that life will be better if they cross over to their agency.
I decided to pick up the phone and call around the different agencies to get their best offers. It didn’t go well….
Thanks for watching! D.S.D.O, James
Subscribe here: http://bit.ly/DiversReady
Jeff chats to… Matt Slater of the Cornwall Wildlife Trust (Watch Video)
In this exclusive Zoom interview, Jeff Goodman, Scubaverse Editor-at-large, chats to Matt Slater, Marine Awareness Officer with the Cornwall Wildlife Trust about their Diving and Snorkeling programmes.
Rather listen to a podcast? Listen to the audio HERE on the new Scubaverse podcast channel at Anchor FM.
For more information, visit www.cornwallwildlifetrust.org.uk.
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