‘Amazing moments’ on mental health sailing adventure | News and events

‘Amazing moments’ on mental health sailing adventure

Ethan Fletcher

Team on board the FaramirLaughter, sunsets and sightings of a dolphin and seals added to the “amazing moments” for mental health service users and staff who joined a sailing recovery adventure around the British coast.

The group, from Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundations Trust’s Suffolk Early Intervention in Psychosis (EIP service), left Ipswich on 13 April to sail the first leg of the Voyage to Recovery, finishing in Portsmouth on 18 April. They were waved off by friends and family and colleagues from within the EIP team, who had all got behind the group in full support.

The challenge is organised by The Cirdan Sailing Trust with EIP teams across the country with staff and service users learning new skills side by side. The 10 service users, supported by three members of staff, joined the crew aboard the 22wm yacht Faramir, sailing, socialising and cooking while on board under the guidance of the Cirdan team.

The team battled some bad conditions while undertaking an epic night sail (24 hours straight) and were also forced to stay in Ramsgate harbour to ride out a yellow weather warning, but this did nothing to dampen spirits.

Care co-ordinator Leanne Collins, who was aboard the Faramir for the trip, said: “There were so many amazing moments and the team bonded super well – it was so wonderful to see so much laughter on board. It was great to see the quieter service users come out of their shells, and I think that some really close friendships have formed. It was out first time doing an adventure therapy as a team, but we don’t think it’ll be our last.”

And Caragh Galley, team administrator, added: “It was a wonderful way to spend six days amongst service users and staff. The 192 miles was a challenge for us all but one we welcomed with open arms and ended up exceeding our own expectations. We saw stunning coastlines and beautiful animals, and witnessed many new friendships being formed. It truly was an eye-opening adventure.”

Psychological therapist Joanne Walkling and Kate Parkes, Early Intervention in Psychosis Service Lead, said the group would be meeting up again on 9 May for a celebration of achievement and to support the team on care planning discussions off the back of the voyage.

Joanne said: “There were ample opportunities, such as sea sickness and tricky sailing conditions, for the participants to see for themselves that they can overcome challenges and adversities – the sense of achievement was hard fought and certainly very well deserved. The team spirit and blossoming friendships, based on a shared purpose and a sense of belonging, has been wonderful to see.”

Kate added: “These kinds of challenges can really help people rediscover dreams that have been buried under psychosis and can radically change outlooks on their recovery journeys.

“We’d like to say a big thank you to Cirdan for the opportunity to take part in this epic voyage and to all those who supported us through donations and grants to make it happen.”

Leanne and Ethan below decks

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