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Exploring the possibility of using outdoor recreation to promote mental health in veterans with PTSD

By Dana Erickson

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Abstract Over the past decade the United States has deployed over two million service members overseas and many into combat (Sayer et al., 2011). It has been estimated that many of these returning veterans will suffer from posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and that a number of these veterans won't seek help due to the stigma of mental illness. Combat veterans, in general, often have a difficult time reintegrating into society and this is compounded when they are also battling PTSD. This can impact functioning in almost every area of life and is a serious problem. Outdoor recreation, including hiking, backpacking, climbing, kayaking, snowboarding etc., is a valued occupation for many people. Occupational therapists (OT) understand the importance of incorporating meaningful activities into treatment to optimize the personal benefits the client receives from both occupational therapy as well as counselling to reduce symptoms of PTSD. OT's have the ability to help veterans explore new and lost activities, in this case outdoor recreation. Veterans may then utilize the tools they gain from participation in meaningful occupations to assist them in successfully coping with their symptoms from PTSD reintegrating into civilian life.
Submitter

Stephanie Schaffner

Date 2011
Location of Publication Forest Grove, OR
URL http://commons.pacificu.edu/otmh/23/
Language English
Report No. 23
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Tags
  1. Animal-assisted therapies
  2. Mental health and well-being
  3. Rehabilitation
  4. veterans