Ms Deborah Harrison - School of Health Sciences
Since 2011, Deborah Harrison has provided professional consultancy as an occupational therapist and mental health specialist for a wide variety of organisations in the field of contemporary military rehabilitation. Committed and sustained engagement with charities such as Race2Recovery, Surf Action and The Baton has helped them to understand how to best involve those with disabilities in their work as well as communicate goals to the general public. Important links have been made between UEA and the Armed Forces community as a result. Deborah has also advised charities on running successful digital marketing campaigns and contributed to the Edith Cavell Centenary events in 2015.
Summer 2016 saw Deborah taking three groups of volunteer occupational therapy students to France to work with veterans. Deborah continues to work closely with the Veterans' Hub in Norwich and facilitating community placements for students with them, as well as providing some teaching for UEA paramedic science students on how to deal with veterans in crisis.
On 23rd May Deborah took The Baton to The Britannia Centre at Norwich Prison which brought together The Walnut Tree Trust, The Matthew Project’s Outside the Wire service and Walking with the Wounded’s Project Nova. Between them they are supporting veterans and their families with mental health support, drug and alcohol advice and counselling as well as support for those in the criminal justice system. They are working closely with many other charities. (The Baton at the Brittania Centre - right)
January 2016 update: Deborah’s engagement with military charities has opened up more opportunities for students to work with and support veterans. The UEA Occupational Therapy Society based in the School of Health Sciences have invited Jonathon Weaver from the Re-Org Trust to speak at their next meeting at the end of January. They will be fund raising for the Trust, which helps veterans who are making transitions in their lives, and following in the footsteps of MSc students to volunteer at the Trust’s farm in France.
Deborah recently shared a report from one of UEA's MSc occupational therapy students about volunteering in France with veterans - inspired by a visitor from the Re-Org Trust to one of Deborah's student seminars. The charity have been really pleased with the contribution of the students -see one of them in action in the picture above.
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External Organisations Deborah works closely with:
Deborah works as a volunteer with two military charities who provide support for combat injured veterans and their families; Surf Action and The Baton.
Surf Action is a charity dedicated to supporting military veterans and their families, especially those affected by PTSD and physical injuries. It is the only UK based organisation using the ‘Blue Gym’ to provide evidence-based rehabilitation for PTSD and the transition to civilian life.
Surf Action offer 8 week course for military families to support them when a parent is on deployment or recently returned. The activities on the beach and in the sea relieve stress and help to strengthen relationships. Families from RAF St Mawgan have recently completed one of these programmes.
The Baton is a small charity named after the baton made from the handle of a stretcher used at Camp Bastion. At the point of medical crisis bloodied hands carried, with great care and compassion, the injured person on the stretcher, passing them carefully from hand to hand. Some of those individuals will have lost their battle for life, others started their long journey to recovery from that point.
Recent events inlude Norfolk-based Wildcats Aerobatics team flying with The Baton securely stowed away in the cockpit of Wildcat 2 flown by Willie Cruikshank in July. They picked up The Baton at RNAS Culdrose Air Day and flew back to East Anglia with it.
The Baton also played an important part in Denmark’s Flag Day on 4th and 5th September honouring the fallen, wounded and their families being carried overnight on a 120km run.