Mountains for the mind – the healing powers of the great outdoors

  • Contributor information: CNP

15 May 2019

“Being in the hills makes my heart sing. It makes me feel alive.”

About 18 months ago I was signed off from work with stress. I’d never really had any time off, stress didn’t affect me majorly, but one day I found myself at my desk in floods of tears.

When I was reflecting on what happened, I realised I hadn’t been out on a hill for 4 or 5 weeks. I was introduced to the mountains by my partner, and if I had not been walking in them for the year leading up to it I probably would have been ill much sooner.

Andrew Powell

I needed to get back out. Unfortunately, it can be really hard to step over your doorstep when you’re not feeling well. My manager was really supportive though, which gave me the approval I needed.

Now, I don’t feel fearful. If things aren’t going so good, I go out on the hills and make myself feel better.

The unknowns in life are challenging, and stress is always around the corner, so I think having an outlet is a really positive thing. Being in the hills makes my heart sing. It makes me feel like I’m alive.”

By Andrew Powell


“I don’t take anti-depressants anymore – the mountains have opened up the world.”

Ten years ago, I was given a year to live if I didn’t stop drinking.

I had been an addict for 23 years and in that time I suffered with depression and made five attempts on my life. I was also extremely ill and malnourished. I quit drinking and went from 7 to 15 stone inside of a year because I was also addicted to sugar.

David Brice

I started realising that I’ve got to exercise. My first mountain was Pen y Fan in winter. When we got there a load of soldiers rocked up and we walked with them. I suddenly realised, ‘Hang on Dave, you’re not as unhealthy as you thought you were’.

To get to the top really was a sense of achievement and I get that feeling every time. Places like this give me the ability to reflect, it’s peaceful, and I get the physical exercise. I don’t take anti-depressants anymore because I don’t need them.

Being a guy that was always stuck in four walls and very isolated, the mountains have opened up the world to me.

By David Brice

This blog was kindly reproduced with the permission of the Mountains for the MindPlease click here to find out more about this important campaign. 

What is Mountains For The Mind?

One in four people in Britain experience mental health problems each year, and one in six of us report them to our GP every single week. BUT it’s been scientifically proven that spending time in the great outdoors is a powerful natural anti-depressant, and regular exercise can reduce the risk of depression by 30%. We are very lucky in the UK that our high and wild places are protected by their National Park status. All are perfect places to escape every day stresses and feel the soothing power of nature on the mind.

In 2019 Trail magazine launched Mountains For the Mind – a campaign to finally get mental health out in the open in partnership with mental health charity Mind. In just a few months, thousands of people have shared their stories of the life-changing impact on the mountains have had in changing their lives for the better and signed up to the campaign to help promote these amazing benefits. Click here to read a few of their stories