Surfing now being prescribed on the NHS!

– Brandon now feels more confident both in and out of the water –

Learning to catch your first wave could help conquer depression and low self-esteem, according to a project launched by the NHS in Dorset.

The £10,000 pilot scheme, funded by Dorset Healthcare University Foundation Trust, offers young people a series of surf lessons on prescription. The fledgling surfers arrive at the seashore facing a range of challenges – from coping with the death of loved ones to dealing with autism or anxiety disorders. Brandon is 14 and has been referred by social services to help him settle into a home in foster care and a new class at school. He has had five sessions so far, learning to become familiar with his board, and how to paddle, pop-up and ride the waves. Each young person has a volunteer mentor who provides one-to-one support both in and out of the water. Brendon says his experiences at sea have made him more confident. “Now I am more happy to make friends and I am not shy to let myself out there in the middle of the group instead of just standing back there in the shadows,” he says.

‘Strong link’

The surf therapy is run by the Wave Project and is open to people aged between eight and 21 who have been referred by mental health, school or social services or bereavement charities.

Joe Taylor, who runs the not-for-profit scheme, says: “What is great is it doesn’t feel like therapy for the young people but there are therapeutic principles behind it such as reducing anxiety, promoting confidence and well-being.

Check out the original article and news video here



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