The following article was written by Kat Castagnoli, Managing Editor at Diversity Communications. We include it here because it highlights activities that most of us do or learn. We particularly like the Hives for Heros program and Pedal Against PTSD, which is similar to our VetsRidingForVets program. Please drop us a note if you get engaged with any of these programs.
10 Activities You May Not Know That Help With PTSD
More than 350 million war survivors around the globe suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD, according to a 2019 report by the European Journal of Psychotraumatology.
And while there are many types of psychotherapy treatments, such as Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT) and medication that can help treat PTSD, did you know that caring for bees, taking a swim with dolphins, and donning a pair of hockey skates can help as well?
In honor of PTSD Awareness Month, we compiled a list of 10 activities and programs you may not have thought of that can help veterans, service members, and their families cope with PTSD:
- Horseback Riding – Stable Strides
StableStrides (stablestrides.org), based in the large military community of Colorado Springs, Colo., provides equine therapy for veterans, active-duty service members, and military families. The non-profit promotes positive physical, behavioral, cognitive, emotional, and social development by fostering a connection with horses.
- Beekeeping – Hives for Heroes
Hives for Heroes (hivesforheroes.com) is a national non-profit organization based in Houston, Tx., comprised of beekeepers and veterans that focus on honey bee conservation, suicide prevention, and a healthy transition from service.
- Cycling – Pedal Against PTSD
Pedal Against PTSD (paptsd.org) aims to raise awareness regarding the severity of PTSD and to share the benefits that the sport of cycling brings to all military veterans and their families. Pedal Against PTSD is recognized in all 50 states, as well as certain countries overseas, and seeks to provides vets with quality bicycles, create a strong community outreach program, and contribute funds back to the research and development of PTSD.
- Service Dog Training – Warrior Canine Connection
Warrior Canine Connection (warriorcanineconnection.org) is a Boyds, MD-based organization that enlists recovering warriors in a therapeutic mission of training a dog from puppyhood to adulthood on how to become a service dog for fellow veterans with disabilities. As a result, Warrior trainers benefit from a physiological and psychological animal-human connection.
- Scuba Diving – Waves Project
The Waves Project (wavesproject.org) in Temecula, Calif., was established to help wounded veterans experience the freedom and challenge of scuba diving. The organization believes the unique properties of an aquatic environment are ideal for wounded veterans as they rehabilitate from various injuries, including amputations, spinal cord injuries, Traumatic Brain Injuries, and PTSD.
- Surfing – Warrior Surf
Warrior Surf Foundation (warriorsurf.org) is a nonprofit program in Folly Beach, SC, that works to provide free surf therapy, wellness coaching, yoga, and community to veterans struggling with PTSD, anxiety, depression, and other mental health issues.
- Yoga – Veterans Yoga Project
The Veterans Yoga Project (veteransyogaproject.org) in Alameda, CA, teaches over 100 free yoga classes each week for veterans and their families in order to improve the overall health and wellbeing of all veterans, whether they are currently struggling with severe symptoms or are focused on increasing resilience and giving back to others.
- Swimming with Dolphins – Island Dolphin Care
The Key Largo, Fla.-based Island Dolphin Care (islanddolphincare.org) provides a unique, dolphin-assisted therapy program for veterans, military personnel, caregivers, family members, and Gold Star spouses, children, and parents. Each program is tailored to meet the needs of the participants and there is no cost for veterans to participate.
- Bird Keeping – Parrots for Patriots
Many veterans have gained new meaning in life by taking in abandoned birds that have been trained and donated by Parrots for Patriots (parrotsforpatriots.org) – a non-profit organization located in Vancouver, Washington that matches unwanted or abandoned parrots with any veteran desiring companionship. To qualify, veterans pay a $25 application fee and agree to home visits and a training session before their adoptions are approved.
- Hockey – Veterans Hockey United
The mission of Veterans Hockey United (veteranshockeyunited.com) is to bring the veteran, military, and first responder community together to grow the game of hockey through no-cost player and team registration. The organization’s focus is on providing a positive outlet to raise awareness on suicide prevention, end the stigma of PTSD and mental health issues, and perform fundraising in support of Gold Star families.