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Beacon Counselling Trust (BCT) are excited about a new initiative, currently in development, that will complement the range of programmes we offer to our service users. This new and innovative programme uses the benefits of walking and the great outdoors to help support and maintain the health and wellbeing of participants.

There is growing evidence linking physical activity and increased access to nature as a positive approach to improving mental health and wellbeing. This also promotes mindfulness and enables individuals to improve and sustain their own emotional self-care. Examples of this include ‘Mountains for the Mind’; a campaign aimed at encouraging hillwalking to support good mental health, developed by Trail the UK’s most popular hillwalking magazine, with over 11,000 subscribed members. Other examples have seen GP’s and the NHS in Scotland socially prescribe outdoor activities, through recognition of the positive impact in addressing anxiety and depression in patients, conceptualising this approach as ‘green health / green therapy’.

There are many proven benefits of walking whilst being immersed in nature such as improved sleep, induced relaxation, elevation of mood, improvements in anxiety and depression, increased physical health, development of resilience, improved confidence and self-esteem, and the stimulation of creativity. In addition, when individuals engage in a group activity this helps to form wider social networks reducing isolation.

Our Trek Therapy Programme, based on the philosophy and understanding of ‘green health’, will provide opportunities for our service users to benefit from well-planned, safe, and enjoyable outdoor activities.  An important and key feature of the programme will see each activity managed and supervised by professionally qualified outdoor leaders, trained in mental health first aid, accompanied by fully qualified therapists with extensive experience in the field of mental health. The programme also aims to recruit volunteers to the project who have an interest in supporting the positive mental health of others in-particularly those with outdoor skills and qualifications.

Plans are currently being drawn up, by our dedicated programme team, for a scheduled calendar of events that will encourage participants to experience ‘green therapy’ through safe, supported meaningful group walking activities, in some of Britain’s most acclaimed areas of outstanding natural beauty.

To find out more information about Trek Therapy contact Beacon Counselling Trust on 0151 226 0696 or email admin@beaconcounsellingtrust.co.uk