Ocean Mind Inc. aims to give young people the skills, confidence and self-efficacy they need to achieve their goals, no matter what additional challenges they face. Ocean Mind recognises that every young person is different and each responds to challenges differently, but with the right assistance and support they can do it.
The intervention uses local surfers to help young people reduce anxiety and improve their emotional health. It is a simple but powerful formula that nurtures young people and creates a safe environment for young people to challenge themselves, create new friendships and develop new skills.
Ocean Mind trains local volunteers to work with participants, teaching them to surf and developing supportive relationships. The sessions are delivered by a mix of paid staff and volunteer surf-mentors. Some of the surf mentors started out as participants themselves. Most importantly, their sessions are free of any pressure to succeed – participants work at their own pace and achieve their own goals. They can work 1:1 with their mentor, or get more involved with the group. The ethos is to be totally participant-led. The role of the surf mentor is to encourage and enable, not to push participants towards an arbitrary goal. Ocean Mind has found that this approach reduces anxiety and allows participants to feel empowered, enabling them to overcome challenges and develop a sense of pride in their achievements.
Ocean Mind takes referrals from professionals working with vulnerable children and young people, and also run private lessons for charities and companies. Regular referrers include schools, child protection services, mental health services, GPs, family support services, counsellors and children’s charities.