Welcome to the Surf Action Website. This website provides a large amount of practical and educational information about trauma, recovery and good mental and physical health.
Health is not the absence of disease. It is a quality of being that allows us to truly live, love, share and enjoy ourselves. It allows us to focus and have enough energy to function successfully in the world, but also to take stock and reflect on where we need to go next. It allows us to share, to communicate, and to be open when we need to be and closed when we feel vulnerable or tired.
Surf Action is a charity (1140191) whose primary role is to promote and protect the physical and psychological wellbeing of serving and former serving members of the armed forces and the blue-light emergency services and their families who are living with physical and/or psychological difficulties as a result of their service and to assist them into making the transition into civilian life.
Surf Action promotes good mental health through personal development, education and employment and empowers its service users to lead healthy, fulfilled and independent lives and to become valued and active members of their community. Core to achieving this is the use of the blue gym concept and involving our service users in Ocean Therapy which includes surfing and other high intensity water-sports in the magnificent coastal environment around us.
Surf Action has researched and designed its own Ocean Therapy based ‘Joined-Up Recovery’ model, an integrated recovery approach, which gives the service users and their families a bespoke pathway which they can access in order to achieve the best outcomes for themselves. It has been trialled and refined by Surf Action and qualitatively evaluated and published by Dr Nick Caddick of the ‘Peter Harrison Centre for Disability Sport’ at Loughborough University.
(Read: The recovery model)
The Surf Action Joined-Up Recovery Model recognises that the front line is not the only place where battles are fought and that partners, parents and children are also deeply affected by a loved-ones military experiences and often bear a heavy burden if injuries, be they physical or psychological, are sustained. PTSD, as an invisible injury, can be especially hard for families.
Our focus is on the successful transition of ex-service and their families into civilian life. We work with many other organisations to help achieve the best support synergy for the individual and their family. Through a dedicated peer support network for the service user and a comprehensive set of family orientated workshops which cover subjects from trauma, good mental health and healthy living we encourage them to live well in spite of any difficulties which they face and to be independent rather than dependent.
Surf Action is delighted to have been awarded funding for a 2-year project by:
As part of their ‘Positive Pathways Programme’.
The Blue Health Recovery Pathway encourages veterans to experience the proven, natural, physical and psychological health benefits from participation in low-impact, enjoyable, high intensity group activities including surfing, kayaking, games and other shore activities in the stunning west country coastal environment with the assistance of other veterans and professionals.
The Covid-19 situation has naturally delayed some of our delivery but we are now back in the water with the veterans and amending our delivery as the associated rules are changed and relaxed.
We recognise that strong family relationships are central to achieving long-term resilience and integrate their families in our ‘Community Integration and Resilience Project’ when possible to the benefit of all concerned.
Surf Action is delighted to have been awarded additional short-term funding to help deal with the increase in demand for its services during the Covid-19 pandemic. The funding has been awarded by:
As part of their ‘Additional support for vulnerable veterans’ strand of their ‘Covid-19 Impact Programme’.
Surf Action will use this funding to support the armed forces community at this difficult time when the charity has experienced a significant increase in requests for physical, psychological and relationship help/advice of varying degrees of seriousness/urgency from new, past and present service users.
Making the Most of Life as the Covid-19 Restrictions are Eased
The coronavirus (COVID-19) restrictions have been gradually eased over the last couple of months but are still having an impact on everyone’s daily lives. As we all experience the ‘new normal’ and its associated uncertainties it is important that we do whatever we can to maintain/enhance our physical and psychological resilience.
Everyone should be keeping up to date with the latest government/NHS guidance and by doing this, we are helping to protect yourself, your family, the NHS and your community.
During this time, you may be bored, frustrated or lonely. You may also feel low, worried, anxious, or be concerned about your health or that of those close to you. These are all common reactions to the difficult situation we are living through. Everyone reacts differently to events and changes in the way that we think, feel, and behave vary between different people and over time. It is important that you take care of your mind as well as your body.
Most people will find strategies that work for them and the difficult feelings associated with the outbreak will pass in time as our lives become more normal.
What can help your mental health and wellbeing?
Think about your new daily routine. Life is changing for us all for a while and you will have experienced some disruption to your normal routine. Think about how you can adapt and create positive new routines – try to engage in useful activities (such as cleaning, cooking or exercise) or meaningful activities (such as reading or being in touch with friends). You might find it helpful to write a plan for your day or week.
Consider how to stay connected with others. Maintaining relationships with people you trust is important for your psychological wellbeing. We can now meet outdoors providing we follow the latest distancing advice, and this makes things much easier. You can still stay in touch with friends and family via telephone, video calls or social media as you probably did during lockdown however our brains are ‘social’ and work for us the best in the physical presence of other people.
Help and support others. Think about how you can continue to help those around you – it could make a big difference to them and can make you feel better too. It is important to listen to and accept other people’s concerns, worries or behaviours. You may wish to do this alone, with friends or as a member of an organised community group.
Talk about your worries. It is quite common to feel worried, scared, or helpless about the current situation. Remember that this is a difficult time for everyone and sharing with family and friends how you are feeling and the things you are doing to cope can help them too. If you don’t feel able to do that, there are people you can speak to via NHS recommended helplines.
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