Therapeutic Benefits of Scuba Diving
Former soldiers advocate for therapeutic benefits of scuba diving for treating PTSD
Posted on 04.10.2018
Scuba diving is one of the only things that keeps Cameron Smith afloat.
To help manage the Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) he developed in the army as a young soldier in the early 2000s, the Townsville man is taking fewer pills in favour of going on more dives.
“That feeling you get … if you could put that in a pill and take that, it would be the most sought-after pill on the market,” Mr Smith said.
“As soon as you get underwater, the rest of the world just melts away.
“Everything quietens down and you have some peace and quiet.”
Hopes for more diving veterans
That feeling is something Townsville scuba diving instructor Jason Mengel knows well, having been medically discharged from the army for PTSD and a physical injury.
Mr Mengel said he has trained at least 30 current and former defence personnel over the past few years but wants to see more.
So much so, he recently became accredited to train people with physical and mental disabilities, which is a niche market in Australia.
He also said he started fundraising to subsidise dives for veterans because the sport can be expensive, especially for those on pensions.
“To watch them go from a sheer panic to happiness and have a smile on their face and want to continue, it’s just an unreal feeling,” Mr Mengel said.
Mr Smith said sharing the experience with more former colleagues would help him too.
“It’s a lot easier to deal with stuff when you’re not alone,” he said.
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