More than half of veterans who have PTSD never seek treatment. Which is why Rivers of Recovery trips are so important—with every trip, we’re there to help our vets get started, and find the way forward.
The most important part of PTSD is raising awareness by talking about it. And there’s no one who understand combat-related PTSD better than other vets who’ve been there.
Many of our veterans can attest to how transformative the experience can be. Part of it is creating new positive memories. Those new memories in turn ease the participant’s focus on painful, traumatic, or difficult memories typical of war.
“Rivers of Recovery plants images in your head… the shoreline, the tree line, the fish, the boat,” said Derek McGinnis, retired U.S. Navy hospital corpsman and Iraq War combat vet. “I can picture my RoR trip perfectly. It creates a positive memory that I can go back to when I need to, and then carry on with the day.”
While fly fishing’s positive effects on veteran recovery is widely supported by personal testimony, Rivers of Recovery wanted to prove it. So, we did a scientific research study to measure how fly fishing affects our participants, both physically and emotionally.
Our findings suggested that the retreat experience was linked to a significant reduction in daily cortisol production when comparing the first and second days of fly fishing, attesting to the calming effects of the trip as a whole.
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