St Catherine's Hill, Winchester
Topped with the remains of an iron-age fort, this short walk just outside Winchester gives great views across the area.
Black Dog Outdoors, are trying to encourage people to exercise in the great outdoors to increase general wellbeing and improve both mental and physical health.
Poor mental health is a growing concern in the UK.
Statistics from the 2014 APMS (Adult Psychiatric Morbidity Survey) have highlighted that “every week, one in six adults will experience symptoms of a common mental health problem”.
Startlingly, the survey also highlights that “one in five adults has considered taking their own life at some point”.
It’s a fair assumption that, based on these facts, many of the people reading this blog will have had their lives affected by mental health issues; either directly, or indirectly through family and friends.
As a society we’re now being better informed about mental health with numerous organisations working hard, locally and nationally, to de-stigmatise and raise awareness of mental health issues.
The promotion of better mental health is being taken up by many employers and businesses. There is also a significant body of research and practice setting out ways to improve mental health and emotional wellbeing.
The role of sport and recreation in improving mental health is increasingly clear. Many of the mental health organisations are citing “green exercise” as a means of improving mental health and the NHS (National Health Service) are even prescribing it.
The effects of outdoor activities can include stress reduction, improved mood, improved self-esteem and improved health and general well-being. The real challenge now lies in promoting the idea of “green exercise” to those that will benefit from it - the people affected by poor mental health – who may not have the confidence or competence to take those important first steps on their own.
We have therefore established Black Dog Outdoors to provide organised events aimed specifically towards such people, which are fully supported by MTA qualified leaders and instructors, and also by Mental Health First Aiders. All the attendees have to do is turn up on the day, make some new friends, and have a great experience.
We held our first events in 2019, which were well attended, and have more events confirmed throughout 2020.Click for Black Dog Outdoors event details
We have specifically chosen to host our events in National Parks because of the incredible (and varied) scenery and vistas, the numerous geological and historical talking points, the variety of flora and fauna, and the flexibility of walking routes and terrains which cater for almost all abilities.
They’re simply great places to get out and explore!
National Parks give us peace and tranquillity to ease busy minds.
They give us all the things that we often take for granted in the fast pace of modern society. Most importantly they give us the opportunity to re-discover and centre ourselves and, even if only for a day or two, they allow us to find some inner peace.
It is precisely this re-connection with nature that we believe improves our mental health and wellbeing… and it costs nothing… so what are you waiting for?
Black Dog Outdoors is managed by a small team of volunteers. We all share similar interests, which include climbing, walking, paddle sports, biking, and the outdoors in general. We’re also extremely passionate about the promotion of outdoor exercise to improve mental health and wellbeing.