Press Release

For Immediate Release: 19th January 2017


Independent medical study confirms significant health benefits of the Deptherapy Scuba Diving Programme

An independent Service Evaluation Study by the University of Sheffield Medical School has recorded a significant improvement in the general wellbeing and mental health of military veterans who have completed the PADI Deptherapy programme.

Fifteen ex-Service personnel took part in the ground-breaking study by medical students from November to December 2016. Each of the 15 participants had experienced a variety of physical injuries as a result of combat and some had recorded an additional diagnosis of Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).

The study was originally conceived by Hannah Higgins, a fourth-year Sheffield medical student, who is also Miss Scuba UK 2017.

Participants were surveyed for the study using the established General Health Questionnaire (GHQ-28) and semi-structured personal interviews. Family members and health professionals who had observed the diving programme were also interviewed.

90% of those surveyed reported improvements in their general wellbeing and mental health, which were attributed, at least in part, to their participation in the Deptherapy programme. 60% of those surveyed reported an overall improvement in psychosocial wellbeing, most notably relating to anxiety levels, insomnia and depression. The study generated an 87% response rate.

The study concluded that the Deptherapy Scuba Diving programme can offer significant therapeutic benefits for ex-Service personnel experiencing anxiety and PTSD, notably in terms of alleviating social dysfunction and symptoms of depression. The study additionally found that scuba diving enables those with severe physical impairment to perform alongside, and in the same manner as, an able-bodied person thus bolstering self-confidence and self-esteem.

Until now, medical research into scuba diving as a prospective therapy for injury and disability has been very limited. This study, therefore, offers both considerable insight into the potential of scuba diving as a therapeutic aid, as well as independent validation of the actual benefits of the Deptherapy Scuba Diving programme for its members.


Dr Richard Castle, Vice President of Deptherapy and Deptherapy Education commented on the study:

“This has been an important and innovative piece of research which has demonstrated that the Deptherapy programme offers significant therapeutic benefits for ex-Service personnel, particularly for those experiencing anxiety, depression and PTSD.”

As well as documenting the therapeutic benefits of the Deptherapy programme, the study also highlighted areas of potential enhancement, for instance in evolving a peer support scheme. The Deptherapy Buddy Peer Support Scheme, trialled last summer, has now been launched this January with the aim of providing an additional support mechanism for programme members.

PADI Ambassadiver, Deptherapy Board Member and Trustee Gary Green knows first hand the very real benefits of the Deptherapy programme. The former Rifleman was injured by two exploding IEDs whilst on tour in Afghanistan in 2009, resulting in him losing the sight in one eye and a lengthy battle with acute PTSD.

Gary joined Deptherapy in 2015 and is now training to become a PADI DiveMaster. He explained the positive effect the programme has had on his life:

“Deptherapy has been a support for my growth. When I first got in contact with the charity I believed I would be labelled as PTSD for the rest of my life. Underwater I found a peace of mind and a realisation that PTSD does not have to define me. Underwater I did not have PTSD and this feeling has stayed with me from the point my head went under the blue until this very day. Diving has healed me.”

For more information about the University of Sheffield study and the work of Deptherapy and Deptherapy Education visit

deptherapy at work









deptheapy at work










For Immediate Release: 12th January 2017


Deptherapy announces NCVO membership as part of
exciting expansion plans for 2017


Diving rehabilitation charity Deptherapy is pleased to announce its membership of the National Council for Voluntary Organisations (NCVO).

This announcement comes at the start of an exciting year for Deptherapy in which the charity will introduce more injured ex-servicemen to the benefits of diving than ever before.

Joining the NCVO is an important step for the charity and shows its commitment to building the strongest foundations for the future. Deptherapy joins the ranks of 12,500 voluntary sector organization NCVO members across England. NCVO Membership gives access to resources and expertise that is an invaluable aid to ensure charities like Deptherapy maximise their potential for their beneficiaries.

As part of its membership of the NCVO, Deptherapy has also committed to gaining accreditation using the Practical Quality Assurance System to obtain the PQASSO Quality Mark. Working towards this nationally-recognised award, which is endorsed by the Charity Commission, means Deptherapy will undertake a programme of vigorous assessment over the next 12 months.

“Working towards the PQASSO Quality Mark is important to us as both a means of analysis and a way to continuously improve the quality of our service,” explains Dr. Richard Cullen, Founder and Chairman of Deptherapy and Deptherapy Education. “Our eventual achievement of the Quality Mark will offer external verification of the robustness of our charity and will demonstrate that we have systems and processes in place that are fit for purpose and meet the highest standards.”

As well as this work behind the scenes, 2017 will see Deptherapy get an unprecedented number of injured ex-servicemen into the water. Places on the Deptherapy courses are in high demand and the charity will run two Open Water and Advanced Open Water programmes at Roots Red Sea in May and October this year.

These programmes are mostly funded by Deptherapy’s partnership with the Royal Foundation’s Endeavour Fund and will cater for 20-25 divers. This funding has also resulted in the purchase of several dry suits to allow more experienced programme members to start UK diving and progress their continuing education.

Other courses already planned for 2017 include a Mental Health First Aid for the Armed Services Community Course in February and two Deptherapy Education Professional Courses in April and May for Dive Instructors and Dive Masters wanting to learn about adaptive teaching.

Planning has also started on Deptherapy’s major 2018 expedition to Truk Lagoon, which has been funded by the Chancellor of the Exchequer using LIBOR funds. This funding will allow the charity to run two build-up programmes in 2016: a wreck liveaboard in the Red Sea and a further developmental programme later in the year.

Key to Deptherapy’s continued expansion in 2016 and future success is the charity’s commitment to constant improvement. “The Board of Deptherapy prides itself on our quality of business planning and service delivery,” says Dr. Richard Cullen. “By joining the NCVO and submitting the charity for accreditation this year, we have committed to ensuring our system and processes are simply the best.”

For more information about the work of Deptherapy and Deptherapy Education visit