Image from Ed Felker, courtesy of Project Healing Waters Fly Fishing, Inc.

In a Bill introduced to the US Congress on the 1st of May will recognize outdoor therapy as an official treatment method for veterans suffering from mental health disorders.  This bill, HR 2345, directs the Secretary of Veterans Affairs to create a task force made up of five cabinet secretaries from the departments of Veterans Affairs, Interior, Health and Human Services, Agriculture, Defense and the Chief of the Army Corp of Engineers. They are tasked with investigating the best uses of public lands for Veteran treatments and therapy.

Image: Doug Buerlein, courtesy of Project Healing Waters Fly Fishing, Inc.

The bill was introduced by Rep. Christopher Smith from New Jersey who had this to say regarding his bill, “Studies have shown—and veterans organizations strongly concur—that outdoor recreational activities can provide powerful therapeutic and healing benefits as well as camaraderie for veterans struggling with combat-related injuries or post-traumatic stress. We should be thinking outside-the-box to discover as many ways as possible to help veterans, and opening up federal lands and removing barriers to access for remedial outdoor recreation is a no-brainer. My legislation would help increase access to this treatment option.”

The Bill is receiving plenty of support from both sides of the aisle in Congress and from many in the outdoor recreation industry, who all see this as an opportunity to help more Veterans recover and heal.

To read more about the legislation, check out this article from Outside Online Magazine.

Source: Outside Online.

Images: Ed Felker and Doug Buerlein, courtesy of Project Healing Waters Fly Fishing, Inc. 

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