A new academic study by the University of Sheffield Medical School has confirmed the effectiveness of Deptherapy’s programme of rehabilitating Armed Forces veterans through scuba diving and ongoing peer support.
The Sheffield Study 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. It was the first study within the scuba diving community to analyse the wellbeing of its participants using ‘qualitative and quantitative’ methods from the point at which they began the programme up to the current day.
The complete report is currently under embargo pending journal publication, but a report from Deptherapy states that the report’s principal findings show that some 85 per cent of respondents reported an overall improvement in their psychosocial well-being. Their level of ‘vigour’ – how their perceive their own physical strength, emotional energy, and cognitive liveliness – almost doubled, with significant decreases in their perception of tension, anger, depression, fatigue and confusion.
75 per cent of the study’s respondents said that the tranquillity afforded them by scuba diving had a significant therapeutic effect, in that it provided both a sense of calm, and a distraction from their physical and mental injuries. For many of Deptherapy’s members, the ‘shared experience of learning to dive with other ex-Service personnel’ was a major positive factor in their recovery, as was the sense of belonging and the community support provided by the charity.
‘This Study has, in line with previous academic research, demonstrated that scuba diving itself can provide a sense of calm and achievement,’ said Dr Richard Castle, VP and Mental Health Adviser to Deptherapy. ‘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, said, ‘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.