October 02, 2019

Adventures in the great outdoors a powerful therapy for vulnerable young people

Adventure and therapy are two words that don’t usually go hand in hand, but a powerful new approach to improving mental health and strengthening social connections is helping young people by getting them back to nature and simply enjoying the great outdoors.

A shared initiative of Youth Support Worker Craig McLean, and Drug and Alcohol Intervention Worker, Denise Buchan, BYS’s new Adventure Therapy program gives vulnerable young people the opportunity to stretch their limits in positive ways.

The quarterly program delivers a huge line-up of health and social benefits to young people. Over four months, eight young people throw caution to the wind and conquer their fears by taking part in group activities such as rock-climbing, horse riding, surfing, high ropes, bushwalking, canoeing, creeking and other outdoor adventures.

The new program officially kicked off in September with a group of seven young people taking part in a hike at picturesque Tamborine Mountain (in the hinterland near the Gold Coast) with the help of Bornhoffen PCYC which facilitated the hike.

 

We hope the program helps vulnerable young people who are in crisis or experiencing homelessness to realise their potential and improve their well-being to create new and better futures.

Denise said Adventure Therapy can support young people with depression and anxiety through building social interaction and strong communication skills.

“Adventure Therapy supports young people to increase levels of resilience, self-awareness and self-confidence. It also provides opportunities for young people to be physically active and is a powerful approach to therapy and healing,” Denise said.

“It can be an effective intervention for disengaged young people who are socially isolated or less responsive to other forms of therapy.”

The Australian Association for Bush Adventure Therapy (AABAT) provided training, advice and guidance to BYS during the planning phase of the project.

“Attending a recent AABAT forum was extremely helpful as we were able to connect with other organisations across Queensland which have been running Adventure Therapy programs for some time,” Denise said.

“We also learnt about the success of other programs and how responsive young people have been, as well as how to assess young people prior to their participation in the program.”

“We hope the program helps vulnerable young people who are in crisis or experiencing homelessness to realise their potential and improve their well-being to create new and better futures.”