Spotlight on Waves of Wellness!
We were lucky enough to ask Waves of Wellness - a really awesome surf based Mental Health organisation some questions about all that they do. Check it out & visit their website here.
Waves of Wellness foundation is a mental health surf therapy charity, committed to changing lives by delivering for purpose innovative programs for people experiencing mental health challenges. Their goal is to break down the sigma that surrounds mental health whilst providing life changing surf therapy programs to those who need it most. They approach things with a positive lens, encouraging people to speak up and normalise the topic of mental health and wellbeing
What sort of programs does WOW run?
- Surf therapy programs, the WOW surfing experience is an 8-week evidence based learn-to-surf program for people experiencing mental health issues. It facilitates functional recovery, while promoting social inclusion, engagement and enhanced quality of life. The primary focus of the program is to introduce surfing to participants as a way to improve physical health, mental health and well being in a neutral, non-intrusive environment. The program uses the ocean and surfing as a conduit to explore, stimulate and facilitate positive outcomes. We’re also about to launch an exciting new prevention program in partnership with an organisation we’re particularly fond of, so stay tuned for all the details.
- Corporate programs, the WOW corporate program addresses the importance of mental health and wellbeing in the workplace. The program provides a wellness toolkit for the organisation, where managers and employees alike, can develop skills and access helpful resources to look after themselves and look after their colleagues.
- Education programs, the WOW education program provides young people with the appropriate skills to manage the ups and downs that life can throw at us. The education program promotes positive mental health, but also resilience and support if challenges are identified. In addition, we recognise the importance of family and a solid support network, so we incorporate family into the mental conversation, and additional education for carers. We provide training and resources for teachers and staff to be able to engage in mental health topics appropriately with school-aged children.
In what ways does WOW benefit those who participate in the programs? Is there evidence to support surf therapy and treating mental health issues?
Program participants experience many benefits, including those of improved physical health, tools, skills and strategies to learn how to cope with mental health and how to keep their mental health in check.
Our programs are evidence based, meaning the programs are designed and guided by clinical best practice. We’ve done research around the effects of the program, with findings supporting surf therapy as a complementary activity to mental health clinical support. Additionally, our programs provide participant with the opportunity to get out into nature, forming new friendships and social connections, and facilitating genuine functional recovery.
There’s increasing evidence supporting nature to be the perfect backdrop for intervention. Whether it’s in reference to the ‘flow’ state, the chemistry of the brain and the release of endorphins, or the generation of negative ions, surfing plays a particularly useful role for people from all walks of life.
How can WOW help normalise talking about mental health and getting help for our heads?
WOW focuses on starting conversations about mental health by providing a neutral backdrop, free from judgement. This promotes the discussion of mental health in a non-stigmatised way, allowing positive, free-flowing conversation on a meaningful level.
If anyone is struggling with mental health issues we encourage them to speak out, as you never have to go it alone! And to those who are worried about a family member or friend, please reach out to them, it can be as simple as asking them how they’re traveling. This conversation might just save their life!
Thanks so much for answering our questions and all the wonderful work that you do!
Photography by Beau Pilgrim.
Any information on this website is not a substitute for professional advice. It is written from personal experience and research only. If you are in crisis, go to your nearest emergency room, call lifeline on 13 11 14 or dial 000. If you live outside Australia, link to worldwide crisis numbers can be found in the sidebar.