What is YMHD?
Youth Mental Health Day is a day created by Stem4 to build awareness on young people’s mental health and reduce the stigma associated with depression, anxiety and other mental health issues.
The aim is to get young people and charities like us talking about mental health and sharing ways we can improve our wellbeing all year round. Venture Trust would like to share the ways we feel nature and time spent in the outdoors can help support young people’s mental health.
How many young people experience mental health issues?
- 20% of adolescents may experience a mental health issue in any given year
- 50% of mental health issues are established by age 14 and 75% by age 24
What is the difference between mental health and mental health issues?
Mental health refers to our mental wellbeing that we experience every day and our ability to enjoy life. We all can experience anxious feelings, frustrations or low mood at times, which is very usual and can be caused by stressful and emotional situations or might have no obvious cause. It’s important to build mental health awareness so that we can take action to look after ourselves when this happens and create ongoing positive mental wellbeing.
Mental health issues refer to a range of conditions that might not be so easy to deal with alone. There are particular criteria used to recognise and diagnose them, such as depression, anxiety, eating disorders and substance use issues. A mental health issue can significantly affect how a person feels, thinks, behaves, and interacts with other people and the world around them.
There is a wide spectrum of possible ways someone might be affected that would be noticeable to others. Some may have a “high functioning” mental health issue which may not be obvious to other people. YoungMinds described living with a high-functioning mental health issue as ‘being able to go about most days as if there isn’t a war going on in your head, or panic ricocheting through your body.’ This can periodically bring feelings of overwhelm and being unable to cope.
Venture Trust belief in mental health and nature
Venture Trust believe that we can all create positive mental wellbeing with time spent outdoors and connecting to nature. Time spent in natural environments can bring peace, focus, and alleviate stress. One of the reasons for this is that nature moves slowly and engages our attention in a restful, restorative way – spending time in and paying attention to our natural surroundings can help us recover from the stresses in our daily life and find new perspective.
We also believe that adventure and challenging ourselves through outdoor activity can bring psychological resilience and create positive mental health. Nature offers inherent challenges for people to reflect on beliefs, attitudes, and behaviours. Many of the people we work with have experienced difficult life circumstances such as involvement in the criminal justice system, homelessness, or substance use issues, which can contribute to mental health difficulties. We believe it’s important for the most vulnerable groups in society to access quality outdoor experiences that can enhance their mental wellbeing.
Time outdoors is at the root of all Venture Trust personal development programmes. We offer outdoor learning in a natural environment such as the Scottish wilderness, alongside intensive community-based personal development in local natural environments such as parks, community gardens, and beaches. Supporting people through outdoor activities at a young age can help establish a connection with nature which will foster ongoing positive mental wellbeing.
One young person said..
“The wilderness journey was just magic. I was genuinely just so happy out there. Lying about under the stars. I’ve got connotations of that now so any time I’m feeling stressed and worked up, I know the place for me to go. I know I can chill out just by being there.”
Do Venture Trust offer a mental health service to young people?
In March 2021, Venture Trust launched Outdoor Therapy, a mental health service which see’s qualified therapists harness the power of the outdoors to support young people’s mental health. The service involves a ‘walk and talk’ approach to therapy delivered in local outdoor settings instead of the traditional clinic or office-based support.
“The benefits of the outdoors for mental health have been long understood but little utilised in a clinical sense and the value of the outdoors to improve mental health and wellbeing has been increasingly highlighted during the Covid-19 pandemic. Now more than ever, it is essential that high quality, professional therapy is made accessible and available to people who would otherwise struggle to access it. We know that our model of working outdoors, utilising under-valued community assets in the areas that need support the most, provides young people with an effective alternative to traditional services, enhanced by the positive effects of the natural environment.”
Andy Hardie, Venture Trust Clinical Manager
To find out more about how we improve mental and physical wellbeing, click here.
If you or someone you know is worried about their mental health, here are some resources.
A confidential out of office hours telephone line for people over 16 experiencing low mood, anxiety or depression.
Phone: 0800 83 85 87
24-hour helpline offering emotional support for anyone feeling down, distressed or struggling to cope.
Phone: 116 123
NHS24 is a 24-hour health service for Scotland.
A free, private and confidential service for anyone under 19 in the UK.
Available: 24 hours, 7 days a week
Phone: 0800 1111
Provides 24/7 help and support from trained helpline counsellors to thousands of parents, professionals and families.
Phone: 0808 800 5000