Anyone who’s fond of a dip in the ocean will know how invigorating even just a few minutes in the salt water can be, and it takes on even more power with Waves Of Wellness.
After launching on the east coast in 2016, this new form of ‘surf therapy’ has made its way to Perth. A cutting edge program of surf therapy, it is a recognised mental and physical health intervention; essentially combining learn to surf schools with counselling and group therapy with trained professionals afterwards.
Along with the personal benefits of exercise and learning a new skill, being able to talk about your feelings with trained professionals has been a huge benefit for many people. It’s gained incredible ground in NSW (and more recently, Queensland and Victoria), particularly as people were coming to terms with long lockdowns, working from home and decreased socialising.
It’s hoped it’ll have a similar impact over in WA, with a program currently running that people can still join, and a new one launching in May. Get all the info about it here, and read on below to learn a little more from Perth facilitator Amelia Polinelli:
What do you like most about being a “surf therapist”?
I love that Waves of Wellness Foundation is addressing mental health stigma and showing participants they can have these discussions anywhere, they are not just reserved for clinical offices. In our case, the beach provides the perfect comfortable setting to have our mental health “expression sessions”. I love that WOW normalises mental health and participants realise they are not alone on their journey. I love that surf therapy provides participants a sense of empowerment.
What is the best thing someone’s said to you during, or after, a WOW program?
A current participant recently told me that they have many social circles, including a men’s group and sporting team. These groups provide him a sense of connectedness and community. However, the conversations in these groups often consist of small talk and banter. He said joining Waves of Wellness Foundation programs has provided a very different sense of connectedness and community. It is a dedicated time each week to talk specifically about mental health and how he is actually going, be vulnerable, and be in a space that allows him to feel safe and supported.
How can someone in Perth access / sign up for a WOW course? Do you need a letter from your GP?
Waves of Wellness Foundation recognises that we all have Mental Health (just like we all have physical health). Sometimes our mental health is good, other times it is not so good. With this in mind, our programs are open to everyone, wherever they may be on their individual journey. A referral is not needed. WOW believes that mental health support should be accessible to all, irrespective of financial status and therefore are free of charge. People can jump on our website and join our waitlist, and you can also send me an email if you have any other questions.
What do you hope for the future of the Perth chapter of WoW?
Waves of Wellness Foundation hopes that our programs will reach a large number of people in Perth and the surrounding areas, from a range of demographics, and positively impact people’s lives throughout the duration of the program, and beyond.
Head to the Waves Of Wellness Website for more info and to sign up to a new program today.