Meet the Founder
Joel Pilgrim founded Waves of Wellness after working closely with OneWave, an organisation raising awareness for mental health through surfing and saltwater therapy. As part of his work with OneWave, he a founded the OneWave Surfing Experience, a program combining physical health and clinical life skills, in a neutral, non-intrusive natural environment. The aim? To improve social engagement and quality of life for mental health clients, away from the traditional clinical setting. The program sought to normalise mental health challenges, providing improved confidence, strengthened social supports, improved daily structure, increased enjoyment of life, decreased worry and anxiety, and a sense of accomplishment. The demand for the program was overwhelming: and so, WOW, a dedicated surf therapy charity was born.
Joel is a mental health Occupational Therapist with extensive experience working with youth and adults with mental health issues, and specialised in early psychosis at a leading mental health centre in Sydney, Australia. It was here that he first learnt the value of innovation within the mental health space – and this is something he continues to champion today.
A university lecturer and international speaker, Joel facilitates inspiring conversations surrounding mental health in a diverse range of settings, including schools, corporate workplaces and everywhere in between. He’s also the author of a children’s book titled Stand Up Stand Out, which he wrote to help people from a young age think about mental health differently.