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Out Doors Optimal Health Program: Promoting Wellbeing through Adventures in Nature

Authors: Sophia Tzougravou, Simon Jones, Lisa Brophy and Gaye Moore, VIC

Year: 2016

Event: 2016 TheMHS Conference

Type of resource: Conference Presentations and Papers

Abstract: Paper from TheMHS Conference 2016 Book of Proceedings: People. Authenticity Starts in the Heart. The Conference was held in Auckland, New Zealand 23 - 26 August 2016.

Out Doors Inc. (Out Doors’) is a community managed mental health organisation that promotes mental health and wellbeing through adventure activities in the natural environment. In early 2016 Out Doors’ collaborated with Frameworks for Health (FFH), St. Vincent’s Hospital, Melbourne to develop the Out Doors’ Optimal Health Program (OOHP). This collaboration and pilot program seeks to link positive experiences in nature with the Optimal Health Program (OHP), a self-management wellbeing program which aims to promote hope, growth, meaningful connections and partnerships. This paper focuses on the preliminary findings relating to the short term outcomes participants’ experienced. The findings suggest that the OHP can be adapted to Out Doors’ service delivery and that the natural environment setting supports recovery and enhances wellbeing outcomes for participants. Development of the program, supported by research, promotes a holistic, person-centered, evidence-based approach to enhance the wellbeing of individuals through experiences in nature.

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