Re­si­li­ence and em­power­ment out­doors as ear­ly pre­ven­ti­on to men­tal he­alth pro­blems


Authors: Jule Hildmann (PhD) & Simon White


Men­tal he­alth pro­blems are an in­cre­asing glo­bal is­sue and their bur­den on the in­di­vid-ual and so­cie­ty has si­gni­fi­cant­ly ri­sen in re­cent ye­ars th­rough uni­ver­sal st­res­sors like the cli­ma­te cri­sis and the Co­vid-19 pan­de­mic. In their ear­ly pha­ses, the most com­mon men­tal he­alth is­sues like an­xie­ty, de­pres­si­on and sub­s­tance ab­u­se are amenable to pre­ven­ti­on th­rough the pro­mo­ti­on of men­tal well­be­ing and re­si­li­ence. Ear­ly in­ter­ven-tion can re­du­ce the risk of more se­ve­re and com­plex men­tal dis­or­ders.
This pa­per ar­gues that well fa­ci­li­ta­ted and em­power­ment-ori­en­ted out­door lear­ning pro­gram­mes can suc­cessful­ly pro­mo­te key skills and at­tri­bu­tes as­so­cia­ted with re­si­li-ence and men­tal he­alth and well­be­ing, and can thus make a sub­stan­ti­al con­tri­bu­ti­on towards a non-me­di­cal ear­ly pre­ven­ti­on stra­tegy to avo­id and re­du­ce men­tal ill he­alth. Em­pi­ri­cal data from the Eu­ro­pean out­door lear­ning pro­ject ‘From Out­doors to La­bour Mar­ket’ sup­ports the­se hy­po­the­ses.

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