Veterans First Point and Outdoor Adventure Activities
Participation in outdoor activities such as hill walking for people suffering with
psychological health issues such as depression can help identify that “…being active
leads to rewards that are antidote to depression.” (Hammen, 2001, p.142). People of all
ages should be advised of the benefits of a regular supervised exercise programme. The
effectiveness of physical exercise in the treatment of depression has been the source of a
Cochrane review conducted by (Meade et al, 2008). The results recommended that it
would be beneficial for people suffering from depression if they participated in an
exercise that the person enjoys. Not only exercise is beneficial but visiting family/friends;
writing a letter or tackling some housework to prevent relapse.
Generally it is a requirement to take the participants out of their normal environment and
into one that is less familiar than their normal environment. While allowing participants
to experience the outdoors and increase physical well being, adventure activities also
provides them with cognitive life skills such as: personal responsibility, teamwork and
problem solving/planning, (Raines, 1985; Rosol, 2000; Russell, 2000, Neill, 2003).
Therefore, it can be viewed that locus of control and self-esteem are most enhanced when
participating in outdoor adventure activities.
Outdoor adventure activities can be used in a therapeutic manner and aim to help
participants in the prevention of antisocial behaviour, anxiety/stress management,
substance misuse and challenging self-perceptions of being a victim. Participants can
learn social values such as co-assistance, consideration, assurance and reliability (Bacon
& Kimball, 1989; Johnson, 1992, Sachs & Miller, 1992).
Bacon, S. B. & Kimball, R. (1989). The wilderness challenge model. In R. Lyman, S.
Prentice-Dunn, S. and Gabel (Eds.), Residential and Inpatient Treatment of Children
and Adolescents (pp. 115–144). New York: Plenum Press.
Hammen, C. (2001). Depression. Clinical Psychology A Modular Course. (Ed.) Brewin,
C.R. TJ International Ltd, Padstow, Cornwall. U.K.
Johnson, J. (1992). Adventure therapy: the ropes-wilderness connection. Therapeutic
Recreation Journal, Third Quarter, 17–26.
Mead, G.E., Morley, W., Campbell, P., et al. (2008) Exercise for depression. Cochrane
Database of Systematic Reviews, Issue 4. No.: CD004366.
Neill, J. T. (2003). Reviewing and benchmarking adventure therapy outcomes:
Applications of meta-analysis. The Journal of Experiential Education, 25(3), 316–321
Rosol, M., (2000). Wilderness therapy for youth-at-risk. Parks&Recreation, 35(9), 42–
Russell, K. C. (2000). Exploring how the wilderness therapy process relates to outcomes.
The Journal of Experiential Education, 23, 170–176.
Sachs, J. & Miller, S. (1992). The impact of a wilderness experience on the social
interactions and social expectations of behaviorally disordered adolescents. Behavioral
Disorders, 17, 89–98.