Geelong and Surf Coast-based not-for-profit Ocean Mind is supporting disadvantaged young people, mainly from the Geelong area, with mental health support through therapeutic surfing programs.
Bisinella Developments has pledged $5000 to the organisation which offers therapeutic surf programs for young people who are experiencing mental health challenges, social isolation and disabilities.
Ocean Mind Chair Sean O’Reilly, said the charity was launched in 2016, piloting a UK based surf therapy model created by The Wave Project.
The aim was to use a simple formula of mentoring, fun and surf to create life-changing experiences for young people experiencing mental health issues, social isolation and disabilities.
Ocean Mind focuses on giving young people the skills, confidence and self-efficacy they need to achieve their goals, no matter what additional challenges they face.
The community surf movement uses an evidence-based model which has demonstrated outstanding results in helping young people who are experiencing difficulties to make them feel more accepted, positive and comfortable with their lives.
“With the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic we have been considering what our role is to play in supporting the community recovery. We have seen our waiting list more than double since March. We expect the high demand for our services to continue as the Geelong community recovers,” Mr O’Reilly says.
“To support the community recovery, we have set ourselves the challenge of more than doubling our planned program and support places. Our planning is well under way to deliver these places between February and June, and we are looking for local organisations to partner with us to make this goal a reality.”
The intervention uses local surfers to help young people reduce anxiety and improve their emotional health. It is a simple but powerful formula that nurtures young people and creates a safe environment for young people to challenge themselves, create new friendships and develop new skills.
For more information about Ocean Mind visit https://oceanmind.org.au/.