Essex Uni recognised for health innovation

16 May 2019, 06:05 | Updated: 17 May 2019, 16:44

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The University of Essex has been recognised for one of the UK's best health breakthroughs.

Psychological therapist Dr Mark Wheeler has been using outdoor group activities like fishing to help ex-soldiers suffering from PTSD.

He started the 'Peer Outdoor Exposure Therapy' programme after recognising that military veterans were not receiving the mental health support they needed.

It's now been listed among 'The Nation's Lifesavers' - a list of 100 individuals or groups based in UK universities that are saving lives and making a difference to health and wellbeing.

The therapy programme comprises three elements - green exercise (fishing trips), encouragement for veterans to share their experiences, and on-going peer support.

Dr Wheeler said: "The results have been remarkable and very quick. Within a day we can see a difference in participants. Three years after the original intervention one participant, with severe symptoms, has started an Open University degree, has got engaged and become a father again. Others have returned to full-time employment and re-established relationships."