Hands Across the Sands
14 wounded in service veterans recently attended the Deptherapy programme at Roots Red Sea, El Quseir in Egypt and undertook various PADI courses. Five have now newly qualified as PADI Advanced Open Water Divers and Deep Divers with six others having qualified as PADI Open Water Divers.
The Deptherapy programme in Egypt is the largest ever programme and includes individuals who have lost limbs or sustained other life-changing physical injuries. 80% suffer from acute PTSD. Three of the programme members had become reclusive, one not leaving his house for the last six years.
The programme which is supported by Roots Red Sea, PADI and the Endeavour Fund aims to help in the rehabilitation of programme members through scuba diving and provides 24/7 support to programme members before, during and post their diving experience. All new programme members have signed up for Deptherapy's Buddy Peer Support programme with one individual openly disclosing that it was the first time since his injury and diagnosis of PTSD that he has been able to talk about his injury and his PTSD.
Steven Atkin formerly Mercian Regiment explains: "I got in touch with Deptherapy through the Endeavour Fund. I found the whole experience very humbling, I surprised myself with how much I could do with support. Diving aside I think the instructors and my fellow students are superb. It is not just about the diving, it is about finding you are not on your own, it is about sharing your experiences. It is life changing. I have been asked to be part of the support team going forward which is amazing."
Chris Ganley, formerly 1st Battalion The Rifles adds: "It has been an incredible experience, it is like entering another world. An exceptional experience that will stay with me for my life. The support the team give you is beyond description. Deptherapy say they are a family, I am now a part of that family."
During the programme, the 14 wounded veterans joined local Egyptian schoolchildren in Hands Across the Sands. This international event sees people come together to join hands, forming symbolic barriers against spilled oil and promote a clean energy future across the world. The Deptherapy group met the children and their teacher to show their solidarity to protect the environment. The activity was supported by talks to schoolchildren and beach clear ups. The owners and team at Roots Red Sea were keen to involve the Deptherapy Divers to show the children that even with severe injuries people can still live a full and active life.
For more information on Deptherapy, please visit http://www.deptherapy.co.uk/.