Epilogue from the Authors
During the first 40 years of sport diving, the activity was practiced by pioneers, on whom we look back with admiration. Diving was a sport mostly for top fit ‘macho’s’ who paid scant attention to the mental aspects of diving. Maybe this generation thought they had
less need of such things.
The sport of diving has been viewed positively, and has been somewhat ‘industrialised’ which makes it more accessible to a larger and, may we say, less sporty public. In consequence of a number of fatal diving accidents that occurred shortly after one
another, and which had great human impact, a mental coaching team was created in
the Dutch branch of the Belgian Diving Federation.
The mental coaching team works in a remedial way, and gives individual support to persons affected, supports club debriefings after a fatal accident, and gives training how to supply mental first aid after accidents for diving first-aiders.
To be honest, we have come a long way and there are believers and non-believers in the usefulness of a mental coaching team. It was not obvious to start discussing the mental aspects, but the openness of the latest generations of passionate divers in doing so has emerged to an ever-greater degree.
After 14 years we can proudly say that we have become a respected authority within our federation. This is evident from the fact that we have been given this forum for contacting the diving federations that are our colleagues. Our next mission is to take a more preventive approach through diving courses. In this way, we can ensure attention is paid to the mental health of the diver, in order to increase awareness of the power of one’s own mental resilience.
Elfrie van Poppelen & Veerle Levecke