HIKE for Mental Health is a registered 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization born of a single vision: a world in which everyone, including those who suffer from mental illness, can find the simple joy of living.

The kind of simple joy its founders re-discover with each backcountry hike.

Sharing the joy of hiking, while bringing hope to those who battle mental illness – that is what motivates us.

Hiking heals

Hiking on backcountry trails helps many people re-connect with nature and with places within themselves that get obscured in the daily hustle and bustle. A few days in the solitude of the trail re-grounds them and helps preserve their mental health.

For people battling mental illness, however, the path to mental health is rarely so simple. Mental illness affects 1 out of 4 families in the United States, leaving those who suffer from it and their families searching for answers, cures and treatments that will allow them to experience the simple joy of living.

The mission of HIKE for Mental Health

  1. Increase public awareness of the challenges and suffering faced by those afflicted by mental illness and their families.
  2. Increase public appreciation for and responsible use of wilderness trails.
  3. Raise funds, principally by coordinating fundraising wilderness hikes, in order to
      1. prevent and alleviate the pain caused by mental illness
      2. maintain and preserve wilderness trails

How we do it

  1. We organize and promote responsible wilderness hikes.
  2. Hiker-volunteers collect sponsorships to participate in the hikes.
  3. We distribute 100% of the net proceeds to our mission causes.

We also encourage hikers to register their own hikes with HIKE for Mental Health. There is no cost. We ask them to personalize a sponsorship page which we create and to tell others about their hike and about how to support HIKE for Mental Health.

Where the money goes

We are committed to contributing 100% of funds received from hikes to our mission causes.

Eighty percent of the hike donations provide grants that enable scientific research and fund programs aimed at alleviating suffering from mental illness. Every week, science yields a better understanding of and better treatments for mental illnesses. So much progress has been made. And yet, the work is not done while so many people and families still battle the diseases and the stigma. We work through the Brain & Behavior Research Foundation and their outstanding NARSAD grants program as well as through our own programs to eliminate the stigma surrounding mental illness.

Twenty percent of the hike donations support preservation of wilderness trails. It is our way of giving back to the people and organizations that make it possible for all of us to enjoy our time on wilderness trails. We partner with well-established trail maintenance organizations, such as the Appalachian Trail Conservancy and the Pacific Crest Trail Association, to ensure the funds are spent responsibly.

How can 100% of hike donations go to our mission causes?

While we hope to find some business sponsors to help defray the administrative costs of the organization, the bulk of those costs are now covered by on-going founder donations, partially offset by receipts from HIKE for Mental Health shirts, affiliate contributions and other donations marked for our operations.

More information

You can learn more about our Board of Directors and our financials, or contact us for more information.