New program uses sailing to help veterans with PTSD
PHOENIX — Soon, former service members treated at the Phoenix VA Health Care System will be able to learn to navigate as part of their adaptive sports program.
“It gives veterans a chance to build camaraderie,” said Joshua Parks, a recreation therapist with the VA.
“When we leave the ward, that’s something we all start to miss, so having events like this where vets can work together for a common goal and the common good, it really builds that esprit de corps and motivates them,” he added. .
The program will launch next month and is a partnership between Phoenix VA and a local sailing school, Tiller and Kites.
“My neighbor is a VA therapist, so one thing led to another,” said school owner Victor Felice.
According to Felice, sailing can be beneficial both physically and mentally.
“So you get the best of both worlds, and it can all be done by sailing and boats,” he said.
The program can be used by veterans with physical conditions or mental disorders such as PTSD.
According to the VA, up to 20% of veterans who fought in Iraq and Afghanistan suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder.
Veterans and volunteers are working to paint the boat before taking it to Lake Pleasant in February.
The program already has 11 registered veterans.