Jim Dunne, a veteran that lives with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, recently attended a Beekeeping course at Help for Heroes Recovery Centre Tedworth House – he was so delighted with the week that he wanted to share his experience with other beneficiaries and members of the beekeeping community. Here is what he had to say…
“Only a few people know that I suffer badly from PTSD from incidents that I was involved in during my service in the Royal Marines.
I recently spent four days at Tedworth House, where I attended the first basic beekeeping course to be run by the charity.
I’ve found that beekeeping helps with my PTSD, especially when I’m in a friendly, understanding environment. The environment was stress-free and it helped me learn coping mechanisms which will be translated into my everyday life.
It also helps my mental health by allowing me to develop mindfulness. I had been interested in beekeeping for many years but never got around to taking it up, until a friend of mine encouraged me to look into it to help with my wellbeing – and since then I have been given great help in this by East Dorset Beekeeping Association.
The course tutors were John Geden and John Perry. Geden is a bee farmer from Hayling Island, running approximately 150 hives, and Perry is a Hampshire BBKA tutor. They both gave their time to help the course, which was made up of 12 men and women whose lives have been affected by their own or their partners’ military careers.
The course was really enjoyable, and I met some good people on it. We were lucky enough to have a talk by Dr Ivor Davis, Master Beekeeper and past President of the British Beekeeping Association (BBKA). At the course, we were given the BBKA Beekeepers manual, donated by the BBKA which Ivor co-authored and kindly signed for us all and we will continue our course this summer with a practical assessment, run by Help for Heroes.
I’m really grateful to those mentioned, and the wider Beekeeping community for all their help, support and understanding in getting me set up as a beekeeper, and giving me the knowledge and practical ability. This has been a great help with my PTSD, and I would whole-heartedly recommend that others with the same or similar conditions look at beekeeping as not only a very satisfying hobby but as part of their mental health and wellbeing.
I am very enthused about beekeeping, and in the longer term I intend to follow the BBKA training plan to become a Master Beekeeper.
Thank you all.”