Veterans with PTSD swim with dolphins through program to improve mental health

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Posted at 10:37 AM, Oct 15, 2021

GRASSY KEY, Fla. — A group of veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) swam with dolphins as part of a program to improve their mental health.

At the Dolphin Research Center, the group got to relax and play with the animals.

Retired Master Sgt Bill Thomas, who was deployed in Iraq in 2007 and 2008, explained how the experience was beneficial for veterans’ mental health.

“We’re all dealing with post-traumatic stress disorder. So, being here today certainly brings down the anxiety level, it takes care of the depression,” said Thomas.

The former service members also rode across the Seven Mile Bridge in the Florida Keys.

“The riding experience with this Rolling Odyssey, riding through the Florida Keys, well the Florida Keys was on my bucket list, never thought I’d do it on a motorcycle. And just the change of scenery, having water on both sides of you, riding across the Seven Mile Bridge, it’s just, you now, it was just tremendous. I don’t know how else to explain it,” said Thomas.

The experience was part of the Rolling Project Odyssey. The program is run by the Wounded Warrior Project and Harley-Davidson motorcycles. Its purpose is to support veterans as they navigate everyday life, often with PTSD.