Walking for Health | Mental Health & Wellbeing Walks

Mind Over Mountains logoFor the last two years, I’ve been working with a new project called Mind Over Mountains, a social enterprise aimed at improving physical and mental well-being through outdoor recreation and nature experiences. This program was founded and is coordinated by Alex Staniforth, an adversity adventurer, keynote speaker, published author and charity fundraiser.

Today there’s an increasing focus and greater recognition of the benefits of being in the outdoors, of walking for health and how these activities can reduce stress and improve mental and physical well being.

  • 1 in 4 people in Britain experience mental health problems each year
  • It has been scientifically proven that being outdoors is a natural anti-depressant
  • Regular exercise can reduce the risk of depression by 30%

I have 15 years professional experience of working with individuals on a therapeutic basis within mental health services and I believe passionately that getting people into the outdoors can be an excellent tool for rehabilitation and recovery. I have planned and led several walks for charities in the Peak District, organisations and NHS Services to get people outside who may otherwise not have the confidence or ability to do so.

There are many factors that can pose a barrier for people to get outside. Self-esteem, confidence, physical fitness and medication can affect mood as well as the ability to participate in physical activity.

I am keen to use my outdoor qualifications and experience of working in mental health to support, encourage and inspire more people to get out into the Countryside or to go for local walk. I enjoy being part of the journey, the adventure and the recovery of others. I love to see the success of an individual knowing that my support, patience and non-judgmental attitude has in some way helped someone to take those first steps outside.

In April 2019 I was one of three MLs working with Black Dog Outdoors during their Black Dog Big Day out in the Peak District. This day walk was aimed at those affected by poor mental health as an introduction to walking.

In May 2018, I worked alongside Adversity Adventurer Alex Staniforth and Adventure Uncovered during their Mind Over Mountains event in the Lake District.

I have also led walks for the Nottinghamshire NHS Mental Health Services and I am planning future events for the Nottingham Probation Service and its service users.

I hold the Mental Health First Aid Certificate and if more support is necessary I can provide links to further professionals for extra support at events.

Please get in touch if you want any further information.

In 2018 I was interviewed by UK Hill Walking about my role as a Mountain Leader and Health Worker.

UKHillwalking – Walking for Mental Health – The Health Worker and ML
August 2018

An interview about the impact that walking and being outside can have on mental health recovery. A  frank and honest insight into my work in a Forensic Mental Health Hospital and how I’d like to combine my work in mental health with my passion for walking and being in the outdoors.

Read the full interview here