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Walking With The Wounded (‘WWTW’) runs a number of programmes designed to support ex-servicemen and women as they transition from the military to civilian life. Our soon to launch MEDALS Programme bridges the gap between employment and mental health.

The MEDALS programme provides a wrap-around approach to help veterans improve their mental well-being through targeted holistic therapies. It is important to have programmes like this because it allows veterans who are suffering with their mental health to utilise skills like mindfulness, physical health, and work on both their body and their mind. The goal is to support as many veterans as possible to enable them to work towards independence. The programme will eventually rollout to include creative arts and music too.

This is a first for WWTW in Scotland. The project moves from a focus on just employment to creating a care pathway that encompasses mental health too.  Over the next 2 years, we are aiming for 100 veterans to be supported through the MEDALS programme.

MEDALS (Mindfulness Education, Developing Active Lifestyles through Sports) is a Positive Pathways programme funded through the Armed Forces Covenant Trust Fund. The programme aims to improve the mental health and welling of veterans by delivering positive outcomes in five key areas

Mindfulness Education: The programme will deliver a variety of holistic activities that will include Tai Chi, as well as mindfulness sessions including breathing exercises with the aim to provide extra tools a veteran can use to manage their own mental health reduce stress and improve relaxation and sleep.

Sporting Activities: A healthy body equals a healthy mind and science says so. The Sporting activities in the MEDALS programme will support veterans to get active again and will include such sporting events as sports taster sessions where the veterans will get a chance to try a variety of sports in a day such as Rock Climbing, Curling, Touch Football and Basketball. Other sporting activities will include Hill Walking and cultural walks in the countryside as well as fishing all of which will link in with mindfulness, as there is nothing better than surrounding yourself in nature.

Cultural Site Visits:   The veterans will also benefit from visiting such sites as The Burrell Collection, The Kelpies and Stirling castle as well as other sites of cultural significance. It is envisaged that the visits may involve some walking to these attractions to link-in with mindfulness and sports.

Arts & Music: Support and encouragement of the update of activities surrounding art and music will also take place on the programme that will allow the veterans to get creative and express themselves through the mediums of art and music. It is hoped an exhibition will take place along with the recording of a piece of music.

Recovery Events: A series of recovery events will take place that will encompass mindfulness activities, Health and Welfare advice and guidance, healthy cooking on a budget or Personal Training sessions.

WWTW will work with local partners in order to allow the veterans to take the next steps to join community groups/clubs in their areas or form self-reliant groups in order to continue to enjoy the activities they have taken part in through MEDALS. This will also help to promote the uptake of sport and engagement with community based clubs and associations to help alleviate social isolation and improve mental health and all round well-being.