Hunter youth that are experiencing mental health issues will now be able to access the eight-week learn to surf program, WOW Surfing Experience, in Lake Macquarie.
The WOW Surfing Experience (WOWSE) is designed to teach young people from all walks of life how to surf as a way to improve physical and mental health and wellbeing.
With our funding support, the program will be facilitated by health clinicians who are trained in learn-to-surf instructing, as well as 10 volunteers who will be paired with each participant.
Novocastrian WOW CEO and Occupational Therapist, Joel Pilgrim, hopes WOWSE will help to normalise mental health challenges by using surf therapy to encourage a socially inclusive environment that helps to improve confidence, strengthen social support, improve daily structure and increase enjoyment in daily life.
With 45% of Australians affected by mental health difficulties at one point in their life, the WOWSE prevention program provides an opportunity for participants to get outdoors and use the ocean as an outlet to discuss their mental health issues using clinically proven techniques - in a relaxed setting - in an attempt to improve their mental health.
The Lake Macquarie program will be delivered for the first time on 2 May 2018.
Find out more about Joel and the WOWSE program in our short video on the Check Up!