Invisible Injuries- Mental health ambassadors

S04E10 - Barry Randal (Operation Soul Surf) pt2

November 28, 2023

S04E10 - Barry Randal (Operation Soul Surf) pt2

In the concluding episode of Barry's story we visit how he's continued to manage life living with his PTSD along with his role as a carer for his wife with PTSD and the amazing work he's also doing with Operation Soul Surf on the Mornington Peninsula, VIC

So moving forward, you’ve seen your specialist Barry, got a self care plan, what does that looks like now while still serving?  Barry’s plan has changed over the years but fitness, healthy lifestyle and surfing have featured heavily in his life.   He shares his love of sport and the benefits of releasing stress and tension even though he’s approaching 50 years of age.   Never a gym guy, trying to eat healthy, strictly a social drinker, he is aware of the first responder pitfalls.   

Barry uses the analogy of a car needing maintenance rather than major repairs.  He  prefers a independent  sounding board  rather than venting or overloading friends and family.   There’s  real value in having a few different people in your support network.  

Barry has more lived experience than most being married to an ex- Police Officer.  Pamela became a Detective specialising  in sex offenses and child abuse investigations.   Her career came to an end after witnessing a traumatic event in her job role.  Pamela is managing her own mental health journey and Barry is some times  her immediate support.  The Trauma was so significant it was a catalyst for a Mental Health Review and things are handled differently today, which is a positive.  

They turn to the conversation to Operation Soul Surf.   Such an amazing work that incorporates what you love out on the water.   A circle of friends Barry connected with bought him back to the ocean on the Mornington Peninsular.   He realised how much he missed it and how beneficial it was.  The seed for Barry’s program was planted by a Netflix documentary called “Resurface” filmed in California.    A program that supported military veterans, with significant physical injuries, many from Iraq & Afghanistan.  


A great antidote to social isolation, reconnecting loss of brotherhood and camaraderie that often follows illness within that group .  The list of job roles is extensive.  They come in “stand-off-ish” and leave with friends and smiles. The bonus being the sharing of treatment talk about their respective worlds through shared experiences in a safe space.  There is an anonymous survey and Psychologists attached to the program.   Lots of women have graduated too ladies.    Around a 60/40 ratio.  

Contact -  Barry Randal
Help Lines Open Arms (VVCS) | Lifeline | RedSix app


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