Scuba Diving Therapy for Veterans | 1 Mile 1 Veteran Podcast


Episode 54: Scuba Diving Therapy for Veterans

In this episode, Danny Mayberry interviewed Jim Elliott and Tinamarie Hernandez, the leaders of Diveheart, a nonprofit organization that helps people with disabilities through scuba-related activities. They discuss the importance of self-identification and empowerment for individuals with disabilities and the impact that scuba diving can have on their lives. The conversation also touches on the support available for veterans and the challenges of finding the right programs. Overall, this episode highlights the work of Diveheart and its mission to provide opportunities and support for individuals with disabilities.

Key Takeaways

  • Scuba diving can be a transformative experience for individuals with disabilities, empowering them and challenging preconceived notions about their abilities.
  • Scuba diving has shown potential as a therapy for veterans with PTSD, alleviating symptoms and providing pain relief.
  • Diveheart works with various disabilities, including autism, traumatic brain injuries (TBI), PTSD, as well as physical challenges and emphasizes the importance of understanding and accommodating individual needs.
  • Consider supporting Diveheart’s mission by getting involved as a volunteer or spreading awareness about their programs and initiatives.


Scuba diving is not just a recreational activity; it has the power to transform lives and empower individuals with disabilities. Diveheart, a nonprofit organization, is at the forefront of making diving accessible to people with disabilities, including veterans, children, and individuals with physical, cognitive, and emotional challenges. Diveheart is breaking barriers and creating inclusive diving experiences through its innovative programs and outreach efforts.

Outreach and Education

Diveheart’s program focuses on outreach and education, informing individuals about the possibility of scuba diving. They provide opportunities for interested individuals to experience diving in pools, with communities playing a crucial role in assisting and introducing them to scuba diving. Diveheart also organizes trips for volunteers and adaptive divers, allowing them to gain experience in different underwater environments.

The Power of Scuba Diving

One of the critical benefits of scuba diving for individuals with disabilities is the sense of freedom and empowerment it provides. By being underwater and breathing through a regulator, individuals are no longer defined by their disabilities but are seen as scuba divers. This paradigm shift has a ripple effect, challenging preconceived notions about their abilities and inspiring their communities, families, and workplaces.

Therapeutic Benefits for Veterans

Scuba diving also offers numerous therapeutic benefits, particularly for veterans with PTSD. Research has shown that diving helps alleviate symptoms and provides a sense of euphoria and pain relief. Diveheart aims to further explore diving as a potential pain management regimen for veterans through additional studies.

Future Plans

Looking ahead, Diveheart has exciting plans for the future. They aim to build a warm water therapy pool to replicate the benefits of open water in a safe environment, eliminating concerns about cold, visibility, and weather. Collaborations with organizations like the Mayo Clinic offer opportunities for research and exploration of the benefits of diving, such as breathing enriched air and experiencing zero gravity while performing a range of motion exercises.

Supporting Individuals with Disabilities

Diveheart’s work is driven by its mission to support individuals with disabilities, ensuring they feel welcomed, valued, and purposeful. Through their mantra of “challenge by choice,” they empower individuals to self-identify as divers, not just individuals with disabilities. The organization’s growth and impact are made possible by the dedication of volunteers and the support of individuals and manufacturers.

Join the Diveheart Community

If you or someone you know is facing challenges due to disabilities, Diveheart offers hope and healing through scuba diving. Their programs and resources are easily accessible, and their videos inspire and motivate. Diveheart invites you to join its mission and be part of a community that believes in the transformative power of scuba diving for individuals with disabilities.