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New study records effectiveness of Deptherapy’s rehabilitation programme

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A new academic study by the University of Sheffield Medical School confirms the effectiveness of Deptherapy’s programme in rehabilitating Armed Forces veterans through the medium of scuba diving and ongoing peer support.

The Sheffield Study (2021) is the fourth academic study since 2016 to demonstrate that the ‘Deptherapy model’ is effective in supporting the psychological rehabilitation of UK Armed Forces veterans with life-changing physical and mental injuries.

This Study was the first within the scuba diving community to analyse the wellbeing of beneficiaries on a longitudinal basis. It used qualitative and quantitative methods (using a modified Profile of Mood States (POMS) methodology) to gather evidence in changes of perceptions of wellbeing from beneficiaries from when they first joined the Deptherapy programme up to the current day.

Whilst the Report as a whole is embargoed (pending journal publication) these are the principal findings:

  • An overall mean improvement in psychosocial wellbeing reported by 85% of respondents
  • The mean level of Vigour increased from 4.85 to 8.95 (out of 10)
  • A significant decrease in mean perception of Tension (-5.30 to +6.05) (on -10 to +10 scale)
  • All other clusters (Anger, Depression, Fatigue and Confusion) demonstrated an improvement in mood.

Common Themes:

  • 80% of respondents identified the sense of belonging and community within Deptherapy as pivotal in their psychological recovery
  • 75% of participants reported the shared experience of learning to dive with other ex-Service people was a positive factor in their recovery
  • 75% of respondents referred to the tranquillity of diving having a significant therapeutic effect, in providing both a sense of calmness and also a distraction from physical and mental injuries
  • 55% of participants noted the 24/7 availability of continuous support provided by Deptherapy as being invaluable, particularly in crisis
  • 50% of beneficiaries reported that being involved in a new, rigorous activity had given them back an ability to participate in physical pursuits and to regain their identity.

In summary, Dr Richard Castle, VP and Mental Health Adviser to Deptherapy, said:

“This Study has, in line with previous academic research, demonstrated that scuba diving itself can provide a sense of calm and achievement.  However, the study also demonstrates that a sustained perception of positive mental wellbeing post-diving is critically dependent on there being a long-term supportive community out of the water. That is exactly what Deptherapy sets out to achieve, both in fostering a sense of belonging and also in providing support to our beneficiaries and their family groups through our peer-buddy scheme and a 24/7 hotline for people in mental or emotional distress.”

Dr Richard Cullen, Chair of Deptherapy, added:

“I am very grateful to the students from the University of Sheffield who conducted this supervised research project. This is a very positive piece of research which, once again, validates that the Deptherapy way of supporting the psychological rehabilitation of our beneficiaries is working as we intended. Following the impact of the withdrawal from Afghanistan last year, 2022 is a year in which Deptherapy is expanding our mental health profile to ensure that our beneficiaries, and their family groups, have access to the very best sources of support and advice to hone their psychological rehabilitation and resilience.”

For more information about the work of Deptherapy visit www.deptherapy.co.uk.

Marine Life & Conservation Blogs

Book Review: Plankton

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Plankton: A Worldwide Guide by Tom Jackson and Jennifer Parker

This is a book that jumps off the shelf at you. The striking front cover demands that you pick it up and delve further, even if you may not have known you wanted to learn more about the most diminutive life in our ocean, plankton!

Small it might be. Much of the imagery in the book has been taken under huge magnification. Revealing stunning beauty and diversity in each scoop of “soup”. There is lots to learn. Initial chapters include interesting facts about the different vertical zones they inhabit, from sunlight to midnight (the darkest and deepest areas). I loved finding out more about the stunning show that divers oft encounter on night dives – bioluminescence.

The black water images are wonderful. So this is a book you can have as a coffee table book to dip in and our of. But, these tiny organisms are also vital to our very survival and that of all the marine life we love. They provide half the oxygen produced on our planet. They are also responsible for regulating the planets climate. And for a shark lover like me – they are food for charismatic sharks and rays like the Basking Shark and Manta Ray, along with a huge number of other species. This book contains great insight into their biology, life cycles, migration, and how the changes in currents and sea temperatures affects them.

This is a book that is both beautiful and packed with information about possibly the most important group of organisms on our planet. Anyone interested in the ocean should have it one their shelves.

What the publisher says:

Plankton are the unsung heroes of planet Earth. Passive drifters through the world’s seas, oceans, and freshwater environments, most are invisible or very small, but some are longer than a whale. They are the global ocean’s foundation food, supporting almost all oceanic life, and they are also vitally important for land-based plants, animals, and other organisms. Plankton provides an incomparable look at these remarkable creatures, opening a window on the elegance and grace of microscopic marine life.

This engaging book reveals the amazing diversity of plankton, how they belong to a wide range of living groups, and how their ecology, lifestyles, and adaptations have evolved to suit an enormous range of conditions. It looks at plankton life cycles, the different ways plankton feed and grow, and the vast range of strategies they use for reproduction. It tracks where, how, and why plankton drift through the water; shares perspectives on migrations and population explosions or “blooms” and why they happen; and discusses the life-sustaining role of plankton in numerous intertwined food webs throughout the world.

Beautifully illustrated, Plankton sheds critical light on how global warming, pollution, diminishing resources, and overexploitation will adversely impact planktonic life, and how these effects will reverberate to every corner of our planet.

About the Authors:

Tom Jackson is a science writer whose many popular books include Strange Animals and Genetics in MinutesJennifer Parker is a zoology and conservation writer and the author of several books. Andrew Hirst is a leading expert on plankton whose research has taken him around the world, from the Antarctic to Greenland and the Great Barrier Reef.

Book Details

Publisher: Princeton University Press

Hardcover

Price: £25

ISBN: 9780691255996

Published: 9th April, 2024

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Marine Life & Conservation

Dive with a Purpose: Shark Guardian’s Expedition Galapagos

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Shark Guardian has just unveiled their largest and most exciting expedition yet: a seven-night, eight-day adventure in August 2026 aboard the Galaxy Diver II, a state-of-the-art
vessel specifically designed for divers exploring the enchanting waters of the Galapagos
Islands. This is a once in a lifetime opportunity to engage deeply with marine
conservation in one of the world’s most revered diving destinations.

Shark Guardian is a UK registered charity dedicated to protecting sharks and marine
ecosystems worldwide. Founded by marine biologists and conservationists, Brendon
Sing and Liz Ward-Sing, Shark Guardian leads educational programs, research projects,
campaigns and expeditions aimed at fostering a better understanding and respect for
marine life. Their work spans several continents and focuses on direct action,
education, and advocacy.

Shark Guardian’s ethos revolves around the concept of “diving with a purpose.” This
philosophy underscores the importance of not just experiencing the wonders of the
underwater world but actively learning and contributing to its preservation. Participants
in Shark Guardian expeditions engage in citizen science projects, which involve
collecting data that supports ongoing research and conservation efforts. These
activities empower divers to make a tangible difference, turning each dive into an act of
conservation.

One of the newer additions to the Galapagos diving scene, the Galaxy Diver II, is
specifically tailored for divers. Its design prioritises comfort, safety, and environmental
responsibility. The vessel boasts modern amenities, spacious dive decks, and the latest
navigational technology, ensuring that every dive is not only memorable but also has
minimal environmental impact.

A highlight of this expedition is the opportunity to dive at Wolf and Darwin islands,
renowned for their vibrant, untouched marine ecosystems and as a haven for large
pelagic species. These islands are famous for their schools of hammerhead sharks,
whale sharks, and manta rays, offering spectacular diving that attracts enthusiasts from
around the globe.

Shark Guardian have developed this trip to ensure a hassle-free experience. The
expedition package also includes internal flights from Quito, Ecuador, to the Galapagos,
plus accommodation in Quito before and after the trip. This allows divers to relax and
enjoy the experience without worrying about logistics.

Participants will join a diverse group of passionate divers and conservationists. This trip
offers a unique opportunity to network with like-minded individuals who are eager to
learn about and contribute to marine conservation. It’s a chance to share experiences,
knowledge, and a commitment to protecting the marine world.

sharks

Shark Guardian is offering an early bird price available until May 31st 2024. This special
rate provides a fantastic opportunity to secure a spot on this exclusive expedition at a
reduced cost. Availability is limited, so interested divers are encouraged to act quickly
to ensure they don’t miss out. All the details can be found on their WeTravel page, where
bookings can be made easily and payment instalments are available.

Expedition Galapagos, aboard the Galaxy Diver II offers more than just a diving
holiday—it is an investment in both personal and planetary well-being. By participating,
divers not only witness the majesty of one of the world’s premier diving locales but also
contribute to its preservation for future generations.

Find out more about Shark Guardian at www.sharkguardian.org.

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