Indian Point Loop Hike 2017
HYOH 2017
2016 AT registration
HFMH Donates $11,250 to ATC
2016 Top Hiker Gear Package
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On The Trail

Leland McKeeman Wins 2016 Gear Prize

How much did our 2016 Top Hiker gear prize winner, Leland McKeeman raise for mental health research and trail conservancy with his 2016 Georgia-to-Maine HIKE for Mental Health? And how about runners up Maya Macdonald and Daniel Ralston? You are just going to have to click to find out!

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HIKE for Mental Health in the Pacific Northwest

Who wants to hike in the beautiful Columbia River Gorge between Oregon and Washington? We do! And so does volunteer hike organizer Christine. Join her for a challenging, but gorgeous, 7.6 mile hike of the Indian Point Loop near Cascade Locks, Oregon in February.

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Pearland Counseling Center Receives $2,500 from Veterans Day Walk

On Monday, HIKE for Mental Health presented Counseling Connections for Change (CCC) with a check for $2,500 from the proceeds of the 2016 Pearland Veterans Day Walk. Counseling Connections for Change is a nonprofit organization, based in Pearland, TX, created to strengthen mental health in Brazoria County. “There is so much need here,” says CCC Executive Director Dawn Lawless. “This year we have had to turn away more than 500 requests for help due to lack of resources. We really appreciate this support.”

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Texas Makes the Pearland Veterans Day Walk Official

Thanks to the continuing support of State Representative Ed Thompson, State Representative Greg Bonnen, and State Senator Larry Taylor, our third annual Pearland Veterans Day Walk was again officially commemorated by the State of Texas! Thank you for your support for Texas veterans!

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Supplies for Soldiers Arriving at Army Medical Center

Packages of self-help workbooks and other materials are arriving at the William Beaumont Army Medical Center, purchased with proceeds from the Third Annual Pearland Veterans Day Walk. This year marks the fifth year we have been working with nurse Rosa K. to provide for the needs of the behavioral unit at the WBAMC.

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PCT Thru Hikers Can Register Now

Rugged. Breathtaking. Grueling. Magical. These are the words many Pacific Crest Trail thru hikers use to describe their experiences of the 2,600+ mile National Scenic Trail that stretches from Mexico to Canada. With the popularity of Cheryl Strayer’s “Wild,” more and more people are planning to backpack and thru hike the Pacific Crest Trail in 2016. If you are one of these hearty souls…

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Your Appalachian Trail Thru Hike – Make It Count

So far, more than 120 Appalachian Trail hikers have raised a total of nearly $50,000 for mental health research, programs to overcome the stigma of mental illness and trail conservancy. With Robert Redford and Nick Nolte taking “A Walk in the Woods” on the big screen, there are sure to be more hikers following the white blazes than ever before. Whether going NoBo, Sobo, flip-flopping or creating their own way to complete the 2,185 mile footpath from Georgia to Maine, these thru hikers who register with HIKE for Mental Health have one thing in common: a desire to do some good for others along the way.

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Team Ohio Raises $685 in First Hike

Volunteer hike organizer “Medic Mike” Wood and Team Ohio raised almost $700 in their first HIKE for Mental Health in Ohio this month. Despite a drizzly day and temperatures in the 40’s, Team Ohio persevered with their Fernwood State Forest hike, joined by trinity chapter of Mike’s family, the state forest manager and his wife. Mike shared after the hike, “It was a fun time, with a lot of talk about mental health issues. All in all, a great day.” Thanks to Mike, the hikers and all your sponsors for making our first Team Ohio hike a success.

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2016 Bear Mountain Hike Fosters Friendships, Fun, & Funds

More than 30 hikers, ranging in age from 10 to 80, joined our Bear Mountain Hike to Oktoberfest this year in the beautiful Hudson River Valley of New York. By the time all 33 reached the summit, we had forged new friendships, renewed older ones, and shared the camaraderie that comes from reaching the top together. The Oktoberfest celebration at the bottom was the icing on the cake. We all hike for our own reasons, but on this day we shared some common reasons – to enjoy the beauty of the Trail, to honor those living with mental illness, and to raise money to fund HIKE for Mental Health operations. Want to know how much we raised?

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HIKE for Mental Health Presents A Big Check to the Appalachian Trail Conservancy

During the opening program of the 35th Gathering of the Appalachian Long Distance Hikers Association (ALDHA), we presented the Appalachian Trail Conservancy (ATC) with a check, a big check. In presenting it, Leo Walker thanked the 212 long-distance hikers who registered their hikes with HIKE for Mental Health since 2012. “Because of you and the people who donated in honor of your hikes, we are able to present this gift tonight.” Want to know how big the check was?

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Another Magical Sunfish Pond Hike

Not discouraged by threatening weather, ten hardy hikers, led by hiking enthusiasts and volunteer hike organizers Wendy Summa and Pat Horsch, set off in the fog for Sunfish Pond on October 1, 2016, on a mission to represent HIKE for Mental Health. But why did they find Snickers bars scattered along the trail?

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Ohio, here is your HIKE for Mental Health!

Beautiful Fernwood State Forest near Bloomingdale, Ohio, is the setting for our newest HIKE for Mental Health. Join us for this easy 3 mile loop hike with spectacular scenic views of the surrounding countryside amidst the colors and forest fragrances of fall. Come on, Ohio, here is your chance to join us!

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Painting Mt. Washington Orange

At some point over last weekend, one hiker said to another, “I have severe depression, I’m so glad I can verbalize it here. It is not something I walk around the office saying.” Wow! One conversation at a time, one step at a time, we are doing our part to eliminate the stigma of mental illness. Click here to read more about our Fifth Annual Summit Mt. Washington hike for mental health and the dozens of hikers from eight states who turned out for our popular 10-mile round-trip hike in Bretton Woods, New Hampshire.

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ZPacks Returns as HIKE for Mental Health Gear Sponsor

For the second year in row, ZPacks will contribute a custom-made ultralight Arc Blast Backpack to our top hiker prize package. All ZPacks packs are custom made-to-order, so the lucky winner will be able to specify the volume, color, torso height and belt length for his or her new ultralight backpack, valued at $325. Thank you to Joe Valesko and ZPacks for providing the perfect home for our top hiker prize package, a $1,200 collection of top-quality hiking and backpacking gear from leading brands that will be awarded to our top fundraising hiker in 2016.

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Hike with Maria in Puerto Rican rainforest

Join hike organizer Maria and her husband Ethan on our first HIKE for Mental Health in Puerto Rico! El Yunque Trail includes an amazing variety of plant and animal life with grand views from a mountaintop observation tower in El Yunque National Forest. So who wants help stamp out the stigma of mental illness in Puerto Rico?

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HIKE for Mental Health Sleeps Well with Sierra Designs

Sometimes a sleeping bag that is too warm is just as bad as one that isn’t warm enough. Who wants to be sweaty and sticky all night after a long day of hiking? For much of the summer in the US, a two-season bag is the right answer for maximum comfort with minimal weight. For that reason, we are happy to announce the addition of Sierra Designs Backcountry Bed 800 2-Season Sleeping Bag to this year’s Top Hiker Gear Package.

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Mental Health News

Caring for soldiers and veterans whose battles are now on the inside

HIKE for Mental Health co-founder Tom Kennedy recently stopped in El Paso, TX, to thank Rosa Klocksiem, the nurse on the behavioral unit of the William Beaumont Army Medical Center who connected us with the needs of the soldiers and veterans there. Rosa is a tireless servant of these brave men and women in their times of need, and we were honored to present her with a framed copy of the State of Texas resolution commemorating last fall’s Pearland Veterans Day Walk.

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Researchers Find Molecular Pathway that May Suppress Repetitive Behaviors

Rodents such as mice or hamsters regularly clean themselves, licking their paws and fur in a behavior scientists call “grooming”. Brain & Behavior Research Foundation funded scientists from the University of Texas Southwestern have identified biological factors that lead mice to engage in excessive grooming, much like how particular behaviors become excessive in Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder. Click to read more about how the grants HIKE for Mental Health helps to fund have allowed these researchers to better understand how repetitive behaviors are regulated in the brain.

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Emotional Disorders Share Disruptions to Brain’s White Matter, Imaging Reveals

Depression. PTSD. Social anxiety disorder. When trying to understand the unique symptoms you or a loved one are experiencing, you often focus on what distinguishes these labels. However, a recent meta-analysis took a different approach and instead looked for similarities between different mood disorders. Click to read more about how the grants HIKE for Mental Health helps to fund have allowed Brain & Behavior Research Foundation funded scientists to take a broader look at mental health and uncover a possible shared biological basis for mood disorders.

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Researchers Identify Gene Associated with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

The flashbacks, nightmares, and frightening thoughts that characterize Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder haunt some people who have endured trauma long after the threat of physical harm is gone. A recent study funded in part by the Brain & Behavior Research Foundation has found that variations in our genes may play role in determining who develops PTSD after a traumatic event. Click to read more about how the research grants that HIKE for Mental Health helps to fund are leading to new insights into why PTSD tends to run in families.

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Work Productivity Is Valuable Factor in Predicting Treatment Success in Depression

Does getting right back to work following an absence caused by depression indicate that treatment is going to work? Supported by grants HIKE for Mental Health helps to fund, Brain & Behavior Research Foundation funded scientists have identified that work productivity helps distinguish patients whose treatment is working from those who may benefit from a different course of treatment. Click to read more about how work productivity following treatment for depression was associated with higher rates of symptom remission.

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Large-Scale Study Finds Association between Risk of Suicide and Hospitalization with Infection

There is likely no single cause to suicide, the tenth leading cause of death in the United States. Both mental illness and environmental factors, such as access to firearms, have been previously linked to an increased risk of suicide. Biological factors have been the subject of far fewer investigations. Recently, however, a team of scientists supported by grants from the Brain & Behavior Research Foundation identified a possible association between suicide and infections that may disrupt the brain’s normal function. Click to read about how 1 in 10 suicides could be linked to hospitalization with infection.

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New Clues About How the Brain Knows It’s Time to Stop Eating

As we make our way through a meal, we may think that an urge loosen our belts a notch tells us it is time to put down the fork. In actuality, our stomach and intestines send signals about how full we are to the the brain’s hunger circuits. These signals may go awry in eating disorders and in mental illnesses such as depression. Click more to read about how one such signal, an enzyme called OGT, may help to adjust feelings of hunger and send the brain a signal that it is time to stop eating.

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Checklist Tool Helps Predict Relapse for Depressive Patients in Remission

When preparing for surgery, surgeons rely on checklists to ensure they don’t skip simple steps like washing their hands. Brain & Behavior Research Foundation funded scientists have developed a checklist that physicians can use to make sure they don’t forget to ask some basic questions about mental health to patients who have experienced depression. These simple questions may help identify patients who are at-risk for having their symptoms of depression return. Click to read about how the research that HIKE for Mental Health helps to fund has led to a twelve item checklist to help predict relapse.

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New Tool Calculates Patients’ Personal Psychosis Risk

Fewer than 1 in 3 people whose symptoms indicate they have a high risk of developing schizophrenia or other psychotic disorders transition to full psychosis within 3 years. A new risk calculator may help clinicians determine the personal risk of psychosis for individuals in this high-risk group. Click to read about how a personal risk calculator created by a team of Brain & Behavior Research Foundation funded scientists may help clinicians who are working to develop effective interventions to prevent psychosis.

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Long-term Lithium Treatment May Prevent Shrinking of Hippocampus in Bipolar Disorder Patients

Many people wonder whether medications used to treat mental illnesses have long-lasting effects. A new study suggests a possible benefit from long-term lithium treatment in elderly people with bipolar disorder. Click to read more about how HIKE for Mental Health, through their donations to the Brain & Behavior Research Foundation, has supported this research on one of the brain’s key memory centers.

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New Imaging Approach Reveals Brain-wide Neural Activity in Mice

Imagine that you are about to cross a muddy stream when suddenly the water becomes crystal clear. A difficult task is now easier because you can see beneath the water’s surface. A technique called ClearMap works in a similar way, making a transparent mouse brain and providing a new way to see where brain cells have fired beneath the brain’s surface. Click to read about how our donations to the Brain & Behavior Research Foundation have helped scientists develop ClearMap and learn more about how antipsychotic drugs work.

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Prenatal Nicotine Exposure Raised Odds of Schizophrenia in Children

Quitting smoking can be a serious challenge, but scientists funded by the Brain & Behavior Research Foundation have found yet another reason to kick the smoking habit. A new study out of Finland suggests that prenatal exposure to nicotine can raise the odds that a child may develop schizophrenia later in life. Click to read more about the public health implications of the research grants that HIKE for Mental Health helps to fund.

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Exercise May Treat Cognitive Symptoms in Bipolar Disorder By Restoring Brain Activation Patterns

Bipolar disorder, characterized by depression-like lows and “manic” highs, can also disrupt attention and decision-making. A new study funded by the Brain & Behavior Research Foundation provides clues as to how exercise impacts brain activity in young people with bipolar disorder. Click to read how the research grants we help to fund have found more about exercise’s beneficial effects.

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Welcome volunteer Kelly Barnes to HIKE for Mental Health!

“As a cognitive neuroscientist, I am excited share with you many of the exciting research breakthroughs that scientists are making. These advances are at the forefront of a tremendous effort to understand mental illness and mental health. Scientists still have a long way to go, but these truly are amazing times to be studying the mind and brain!”

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Trek Toward Treatment

The May edition of the Brain & Behavior Research Foundation Quarterly publication contains a two-page feature on HIKE for Mental Health. Hooray! We are extremely honored to be connected with this fine organization that has lead the battle for better understanding of and treatments for mental illnesses for so many decades. Read more about our “Trek Toward Treatment.”

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William Beaumont Army Medical Center Recognizes HIKE for Mental Health

This week has been a fantastic one to visit the mailbox – see what arrived today! Thanks to all the sponsors, walkers, and donors to our Veterans Day Walk in Pearland, Texas, who made this possible. Our fantastic walk team is already gearing up for this year’s walk. If you are in the Pearland area and want to help out, please let me know.

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New Insight About Why Mild Stress Can Trigger Extreme Responses in PTSD and Other Disorders

Ever wonder why a car alarm or pop of a firework can go completely un-noticed by one person while sending the next person into a momentary panic? Researchers have uncovered new details about what happens in the brain when a mild source of stress generates an extreme response, disproportionate to the stress. Their findings identify possible targets for new medications to treat the debilitating stress responses that define post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and other illnesses.

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A More Expansive View of Brain Circuits that Stop Inappropriate Behaviors

Quickly halting an in-progress action that turns out to be inappropriate for a particular time and place relies on a cognitive function known as inhibitory control. In new experiments with rats, researchers have discovered a set of neurons at the base of the brain that are critical for this rapid behavioral stopping, demonstrating that inhibitory control involves a broader network of brain circuits than those previously identified.

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Please Support Our 2016 Gear Package Sponsors:

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