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AT, PCT, CDT – 2014 Thru-hikers, Come On Down!

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We want to thank all AT, PCT, and CDT thru-hikers who made HIKE for Mental Health part of their adventures. Last year’s hikers had a well-above-average 35% completion rate. As the class of 2014 starts checking gear, it’s time to ask for your help this year.

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HIKE for Mental Health Reaches New Heights in 2013

Leo, Nancy, and Tom present the 2013 check for more than $23,000 to Dr. Jeffrey Borenstein of the Brain & Behavior Research Foundation

In 2013 our mission to end the stigma around mental illness was fueled by 131 hikers and 495 sponsors. We commit to alleviating suffering from mental illness and to help preserve the wilderness trails on which we hike. Click to see how much you helped us raise & where the money went!

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On the Trail

A Queen Mattress Set, Delivered to our Top Fundraiser

A Queen Mattress Set to our Top Fundraiser

You just finished your five- or ten- or 2,000-mile hike. You drop your pack and slump into a chair for your celebratory meal. And after you have gorged yourself to replenish the calories you lost on the trail, all you want is to lie down and sleep. Thanks to Paramount Sleep and HIKE for Mental Health, you could be sleeping on one of the most comfortable mattresses in the world…

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Pole Steeple Post-Hike Update

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Volunteer hike organizer Neil Brennan led our first HIKE for Mental Health to Pole Steeple last weekend. The hike raised $320 for HIKE For Mental Health and introduced some of the group to the beauty of a stretch of the AT and the great view from atop Pole Steeple.

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Soul Sista’s Stitch Creations Crafts A Donation

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A big shout-out to Jess at Soul Sista’s Stitch Creations. She just donated $5 for every $25 sale she made in the month of March! If you need something colorful to brighten your day, or someone else’s, click on over to her page. In addition to her standard designs, she also does custom work. I guarantee they will all put a smile on your face. Thank you, Jess, for your support of HIKE for Mental Heath.

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Lake Shore Trail Photo Album

Joanna Davis and the Lake Shore Trail Hikers, March 2014

“Such beautiful smiling and laughing faces. Happy wagging tails of our dogs. (And some of us humans!) Such a perfect day, for all! I will do a HIKE for Mental Health hike again!!” So says volunteer hike organizer Joanna Davis about her hike on Lake Norman in March. To hear more about the hike and how much they raised…

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Placerita Canyon Hike Puts California on the Map

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Laura Skorich’s hike along a shady creek through oak and chaparral woodland between the tall granite walls of Placerita Canyon makes California the ninth state to join our 14 in ’14 program. Only five more states are needed to get to hikes in fourteen states in 2014. Minutes from Santa Clarita, the Placerita Canyon Hike will offer an easy walk for families or beginners and a more challenging round-trip hike for those who want to get their heart rate going.

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Experience the Two Best Vistas on the Pennsylvania AT

Stunning views from the Pinnacle

To hike for a cause that hits so close to home, for we all know someone affected by a mental illness, is the least I can do.” So says volunteer hike organizer Amy Knopf who will lead our April 26 loop hike to Pulpit Rock and The Pinnacle, only an hour from Philadelphia and widely regarded as the two best vistas on the Appalachian Trail in Pennsylvania.

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Maryland Is Onboard With HIKE for Mental Health!

“1 out of 4 families suffer from some form of mental health issues, and we all know someone who has issues even though we may not know we know.” So says volunteer hike organizer Earlene Sorrells, whose Maryland Height Hike makes Maryland the eighth state to join our “14 in ’14″ program. Check out the amazing hike she has planned…

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Tennessee joins HIKE for Mental Health

140 foot Virgin Falls

We are excited to announce our first HIKE for Mental Health in Tennessee. Dramatic waterfalls and caves… Breath-taking deep woods landscapes… These are just a few of the attractions on the Virgin Falls Trail near Sparta, TN. Please join us in this amazingly beautiful area to celebrate Nature, life, and good mental health.

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HIKE for Mental Health compared to Komen for the Cure

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Joanna Davis’s Lake Shore Trail Hike made the front page of the Statesville, NC, newspaper. The article compares what HIKE for Mental Health is trying to do with the stigma surrounding mental illness to the way Komen for the Cure de-stigmatized breast cancer and in so doing helped to spur better understand and accelerate research for treatment.

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Please Welcome Ashley Jones to HIKE for Mental Health

Ashley Jones

Meet our newest volunteer and member of the HIKE for Mental Health, Ashley Jones. Ashley will re-publish the latest in mental health research news each week on our website. “I am joining Hike for Mental Health is because I understand the struggle and want everyone to know there is absolutely no shame in seeking help to overcome the issues we may face. Together we can help one another instead of working against one another.”

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Join us for the Bear Mountain Oktoberfest Hike

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Dramatic 360 degree views of the Hudson River Valley and Bear Mountain Bridge, aflame with autumn colors. An amazing climb on hand-hewn granite steps. A walk along what many believe is the best section of the Appalachian Trail in the tri-state area. Brats, sauerkraut, alp-horns, polka music, and more at the end… These are just a few of the attractions of the three-hour Bear Mountain Oktoberfest hike near Highland Falls, NY, on September 21.

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“The outdoors is for everyone” – Pennsylvania joins 14 in ’14 program

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Pennsylvania becomes the sixth state to join the 14 in ’14 program at HIKE for Mental Health, thanks to hike organizer Neil Brennen. In his words, “The outdoors is for everyone, but I didn’t think it was for me. When I weighed more than 400 pounds and was depressed, I never thought I could climb a mountain. I did when I hiked Pole Steeple. This is one of my favorite hikes, and I’m thrilled to lead a Pole Steeple adventure for HIKE For Mental Health.”

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Thanks for Smiling on HIKE for Mental Health

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To all of you who signed up with Amazon Smile and named HIKE for Mental Health as your charity, thank you. We recently received the following announcement from Amazon: “Thank you so much for your participation in AmazonSmile! This email is to notify you that Hike For Mental Health Inc will be receiving a $27.93 donation from the AmazonSmile Foundation…”

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Announcing our Rails to Trail Hike

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From Grand Central Station in NYC to the Wiley Shelter on the Appalachian Trail, hike through open fields past a vintage water tower and across planks in the Pawling Nature Preserve to spend a night wilderness tenting or camping in a 1940′s log shelter.

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HIKE for Mental Health Adds PCTA To Its 2014 Beneficiaries

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HIKE for Mental Health determined its 2014 beneficiaries at its annual Board of Directors meeting on February 6. The Pacific Crest Trail Association will join the Brain & Behavior Research Foundation and the New York New Jersey Trail Conference as a recipient of the funds raised through hikes this year.

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HIKE for Mental Health in North Carolina

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We are pleased to announce our first HIKE for Mental Health in North Carolina, thanks to volunteer organizer Joanna Davis. “Hiking is what keeps my spirits up. When hard times come to me, I go to the woods. I want to share that with people. I want people to know and see how getting out there can really help. And I’d love to be a part of raising money for such a great cause. I want to sport the orange and support HIKE for Mental Health!” Thanks, Joanna! We are glad you do, and the people who sign up for your hike will be as well.

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Announcing the Pine Meadow Lake Hike in Ramapo, NY

Approach on the trail to Pine Meadow Lake

HIKE for Mental Health is excited to add another hike to our 2014 schedule. The Pine Meadow Lake Hike, on March 30, ambles over hills, through meadows, across streams, and past Pine Meadow Lake in the heart of southern Harriman State Park near Sloatsburg, NY. Hikers may choose between a 7 mile intermediate hike and a more challenging 11 mile advanced hike.

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Our first hike in Vermont – White Rocks Cliff, near Rutland

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Thanks to Zach Cavacas, HIKE for Mental Health will host our first hike in the beautiful state of Vermont this summer. Zach, who will set out on his Appalachian Trail thru hike later in the summer, volunteered to organize and lead the hike. “I decided to help organize a local hike at White Rocks, in Wallingford, with Hike For Mental Health to raise awareness to such a worthy cause, and organize local people who are passionate about hiking, with no avenue to do so with others. I personally have struggled with mental health issues, and hiking has been an outlet to deal with my problems when they arise. I hope those who are curious about Hike For Mental Health, those who want to hike White Rocks with a group, or those just looking to get out for the day, come on and join us.”

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Way to go, Donna!

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Don’t look now, but our unofficial staff photographer, Donna Chapman, had one of her photographs published in the latest issue of AT Journeys, The Magazine … More info…

Help us reach 14 in ’14

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How do we top a record-setting year? By setting our sights even higher, on HIKE for Mental Health hikes in 14 states in 2014! By adding more hikes, we will spread awareness of the stigma surrounding mental illness and how it discourages people from seeking the help they need. Read more to see how you can help.

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Chipmunk TV

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Want to feel that our future is in good hands with the next generation? Check out this interview with 15 year old Neva Warren, who became the youngest solo thru hiker of the Appalachian Trail this year, and hear what she has to say about HIKE for Mental Health.

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An Extra $5 from Amazon Until New Year’s Eve

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If you have Amazon gift cards you plan to use by New Year’ Eve, Amazon will make a $5 donation to us. No cost to you; no codes to remember. Just click the link to register yourself as a HIKE for Mental Health supporter and shop as normal on Amazon.com. Amazon will automatically send us a $5 donation if you make a purchase by New Year’s Eve. Plus, every time you shop throughout the year, Amazon will donate an amount equal to half a percent of your purchase to us. All you have to do is register, which is free and easy.

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And the winners are…

Style 1222 Back Performance MX Gel Cool Comfort Mattress Set

The 2013 hiking season is over for all but the heartiest die-hards, and the time has come to tally the numbers and award prizes for our top fundraisers of 2013. Find out who won our top prizes for 2013.

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AmazonSmile supports HIKE for Mental Health

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Amazon shoppers, here is a way to support us that doesn’t cost you a penny. Register yourself as a HIKE for Mental Health supporter. Amazon will automatically donate a half percent of your purchases to us every time you shop.

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Mental Health News

Crossed Wires in the Brain as Potentially Reversible Cause of Schizophrenia

Christoph Kellendonk, Ph.D.

The brain forms its thicket of connections early in life, but additions to its wiring diagram may be made even in adulthood, according to a study published in Neuron on January 8th. The researchers, led by two-time NARSAD Young Investigator Grantee, Christoph Kellendonk, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Psychiatry at Columbia University, suggest that too many of these extra connections may contribute to schizophrenia.

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Forbes.com Features Discoveries by NARSAD Grantees in 2013

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Forbes.com highlights many of the top 2013 break-through discoveries in brain research in a new article “The Brain And Behavior Research Foundation: Making A Difference In Mental Health Research.” The discoveries by NARSAD Grantees in basic research, new technology, next generation therapies and early intervention provide new insight into the mysteries of the brain and potential treatments for people with depression, anxiety, schizophrenia, PTSD and panic disorder.

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Potential Novel Treatment Targets for the Cognitive Symptoms of Mental Illness Discovered

Milena Girotti, Ph.D.

In a new study funded in part by the Brain & Behavior Research Foundation and conducted at the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio (UTSA), researchers made a surprising discovery about how low levels of a pro-inflammatory agent in the brain may help maintain mental flexibility. This new research could offer new insight for developing treatments for the cognitive symptoms associated with major mental illnesses such as schizophrenia, depression and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

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