The power of social media: connecting colleagues who care about veterans, crossing oceans and disciplines

It’s been a week since I hosted the #OTalk on twitter with Dr Nick Caddick and I’m still a little in awe of the whole event.

The topic was surfing to support the recovery of combat injured veterans who have post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). We acknowledged the devastating impact of PTSD on the lives of veterans who struggle with it and their families and we all had a commitment to offering support to those who have served.

Nick, a sports psychologist from Loughborough University has carried out extensive qualitative research with the charity Surf Action in Cornwall. Joining in the OTalk was Carly Rogers, an occupational therapist from California, who has carried out research with veterans on an occupational therapy programme using surfing or ocean therapy. There are strong connections across their findings.

We also had OT experts from Combat Stress talking about their work. They also told us that engaging with the physical activity and the natural environment was beneficial. There are many benefits of sport; achievement, motivation, respite and relaxation. Carly noted that being in the sea could give an adrenalin rush, but was also at times calming and helped to nurture mindfulness.

One of the main themes that I recall from the chat was the importance of being a part of a close-knit group. Nick used the term ‘band of brothers’ to describe this. A veteran talking with us confirmed that was true for him.

I was anxious about making the twitter chat work and keeping track of everything, but it all went well and the hour flew by. The statistics are quite impressive. We had: 54 Participants, 409 Tweets and 775,491 Impressions. I felt proud of my profession and enjoyed working with such a knowledgeable, lively and passionate group of people. It was a privilege to be a part of it.

Background information is available here, including Carly’s TED Talk, Nick’s web site link to his work and a full transcript of the tweets:

Photographs from Surf Action’s resident photographer Paul Gillard, showing the power and beauty of the Blue Gym.

surf 6 surf 7


One thought on “The power of social media: connecting colleagues who care about veterans, crossing oceans and disciplines

  1. Great to read your summary. You’ve perfectly summed up my feelings about the chat – it really highlighted the power of social media in connecting diverse people (both in terms of backgrounds and geography) with similar interests.

    Thank you for all the work you did in organising and hosting this chat. We hope to have you back soon!


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