Getting away from the home or office and into nature is something everyone can benefit from. However, for those who have served our country at risk of their own life and limb, the emotional benefits of outdoor activities can begin a life-changing healing process.
Tune in to hear an interview with Project Healing Waters Fly Fishing.
One group offering support and fly fishing technical training for veterans is Project Healing Waters, which offers expenses-paid fishing trips for military vets.
For some of our American heros, it’s learning a new skill -- one that takes thoughtful concentration that is very process-driven -- that helps take their mind off of their battle scars, the ones inside and out. Getting into nature and relaxing with caring volunteers as well as their military brothers is not something many of these veterans have a chance to enjoy without groups like Project Healing Waters.
Sharalyn Davis, a Veteran Affairs therapist, told the Grand Rapids Press, “The whole point is to have them get out and try it. Maybe they will continue. Or, maybe they will have fun and get to sit and talk about their kids. It’s an opportunity to for them to learn something new.
For those Americans who suffer long-term effects from their time in Iraq, Afghanistan, Vietnam and other military campaigns, it’s finding the right care and hobbies for each person that is important to healing. For some, it may be fixing up cars, others may take to writing, and for some it’s fly fishing.
Not all war wounds can be seen. Post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD, can affect anyone who suffers from a traumatizing experience. Rates of PTSD are higher among combat veterans than the general population. Some studies estimate that as many as one in every five returning veterans from Iraq and Afghanistan has PTSD.
Symptoms of PTSD include flashbacks, disturbing dreams, hopelessness, depression, irritability, trouble sleeping, high anxiety and more, all affecting the ability to form close relationships with friends and family.
Fishing, camping, boating or other outdoor activities have been shown to help combat veterans’ emotional stability; however, it is not a cure and should never take the place of a treatment plan provided by a medical professional.
If you are interested in donating to Project Healing Waters, click here. There are many other places to donate your money, as well. The following veterans charity groups are the highest rated by Charity Navigator:
- Fisher House Foundation
- Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society
- Special Operations Warrior Foundation
- National Military Family Association
- Disabled American Veterans Charitable Service Trust