Lesson 1, Topic 1
In Progress


Diving is a sport that involves risks. Every diver runs the potential risk of having a diving accident. A diving accident can occur at any time during a diver’s career, and may or may not have a clear cause.

A diving accident can be a drastic event. Some situations are life-threatening or may have a fatal outcome. This shocking occurrence can strongly influence a diver’s daily life with serious medical, psychological, social, family and professional consequences.

For some divers, this shocking event may form the basis for their developing posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). This is a serious psychological disorder with consequences for daily functioning and damage to certain areas of the brain. Emotional stress is not always visible like a physical trauma, but emotional stress may also be a painful occurrence with consequences for the functioning of those affected, and may hinder them in their ability to operate on a daily basis.

In any case, diving requires a major adjustment in our behaviour. As divers, we must be resistant to stress, we must be able to analyse difficult situations and act appropriately. How a diver deals with a diving incident or accident is determined by his resilience.

Resilience determines a diver’s ability to handle a stressful situation. It is the ability to maintain optimal performance during a stressful situation and to restore things positively afterwards, while still maintaining motivation for diving.

The possibility of someone developing post-traumatic stress disorder depends on various factors. The response to such an event depends on:

  • The personality of the diver and his psycho-emotional vulnerability (such as stress resistance, skills in finding solutions, pre-existing “baggage” of vulnerability)
  • Strengths such as being positive, hopeful and forward-thinking, his social network, resilience
  • How the person responds to anxiety

When people are confronted with a drastic event, the body instinctively switches to primal responses, such as: fight, or freezing. It is important to know that when we are in such a state, it is difficult for us to think clearly.

Until quite recently, the operation of the mental coaching team was developed on the basis of an earlier traditional emergency care model (we have to help the victim) supplemented with the experience of members of working groups from their professional backgrounds or experiences as a mental coach. These good practices were supplemented by findings from scientific research in trauma care and the development of post-traumatic stress disorder. Post-traumatic stress disorder is the development of pathological behaviour after a shocking event, such as a diving accident. In addition, other pathologies may develop following a diving accident, such as psychosomatic disorders, depression, dependency disorders.

To be quite clear, the mental coaching team does not deal with these pathological behaviours (including post-traumatic stress disorder)! We attempt to reduce the impact of a diving incident and to ensure that things don’t develop that far.