Tina and I went to Mt. Washington for the first time with HFMH in 2023 and it was such an incredible experience. On this trip we met people from all over the country and heard many stories why people hike along with their passion to stop the stigma of mental health. If this is your first event or you’ve gone to others, the people here welcome you with open arms. So if you are nervous to tryout an event push through that anxiety, we are here to support you! There are no judgments and the kindness is serial! Everyone is unique and good hearted. Finding like minded people is priceless. This community feels like a family.
Diana’s story: I attended my first event with HFMH in 2015 at Bear Mountain. I was super nervous because I didn’t know if I would fit in, or be able to hike a mountain and tons of other self doubting thoughts. Before Bear Mountain, I did tourist and family-friendly hikes or went to local parks a few times a year. I’ve never climbed a mountain and didn’t know what to expect. Little did I know, hiking was going to be a new passion after that first climb.
I was burnout from life’s challenges and struggles, I decided in 2020 I was going to make more lifestyle changes. I had no idea a pandemic was about to come and assist further in jump starting my self-care. I joined many HFMH events, signed up for virtual hiking challenges and joined hiking groups on social media. I had tons of anxiety about meeting up with people and I pushed through the negative thinking. I’m so pleased and proud that I tried new experiences. Along the way I accomplished many hiking goals and made amazing trail friends. You never know what will happen unless you try.
Because of these changes, I decided to give Mt. Washington another chance. I attempted to hike and got close to the tree-line but my body had another plan. My knee began to hurt so I turned around. I overworked my knee from pushing myself the previous weekend in the Catskills. I achieved the fire tower challenge and learned I can hike 18 miles in 48 hours and climb 3 mountains reaching almost 6,000 feet elevation gain. So I had confidence to tackle Mt. Washington. Plus in March 2023, I joined Orange Theory Fitness to strengthen my body for hiking. I completed many challenges with them.
I thought I would have been disappointed that I had to turn around but I wasn’t. Karen, the sweeper, stayed with me to make sure I was safe. We had a great conversation and shared our stories. I’m grateful for the experience and thankful I tried. If I never tried I would have never known what my body can do or know the healing power of nature. So after the trip, I followed up with an orthopedic and have been following the directions to strengthen my knees so I can attempt this mountain again. One day I’ll get up this mountain and I feel 2024 is my year!!!!
Tina’s story: Three years ago, when I started this journey I wasn’t sure where this was going to take me. I’ve always loved the outdoors; skiing, sailing, fishing with family and friends. I also played sports, for example hockey. Being active has been a value of mine.
In 2023, Diana introduced me to HFMH. The more I read about it, the more I wanted to help. Taking care of the trails are such a big part of my life because nature can heal the soul.
Hiking truly has lead me to embracing the world and I love to travel. I’ve been to many countries, staying at a sloth preservation, hiking through rainforests and soaking up what Mother Nature has to offer. I’ve done my share of US traveling and experiencing memorable moments with trail sisters at Shenandoah State Park, the Berkshire’s Mountains of Massachusetts, and many more places. I’ve completed the Catskills Fire Tower Challenge the summer of 2023. This tested my abilities to know I was ready to tackle Mt. Washington. It was an AMAZING day!! I never thought I would be able to hike to the top of the highest peak east of the rockies. Now, I’m going back with Diana to raise awareness but support her to make it to the top! We got this!!!
Thank you for listening to our stories and hope this sheds some light on why we find this organization amazing. We chose to join a hike with HIKE for Mental Health to help stamp out the stigma of mental illness and conserve wilderness trails.
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1 in 4 families is affected by mental illness.
HIKE for Mental Health is a recognized 501(c)(3) nonprofit founded on the vision of a world in which everyone, including those who suffer mental illness, can find the simple joy of living.
Our mission is to alleviate the suffering of those afflicted by mental illness, eliminate the associated stigma, and foster responsible use of wilderness trails.
As an all-volunteer organization, we distribute 100% of contributions raised by our hikes.
- 80% funds scientific research to understand and treat mental illness
- 20% conserves national wilderness trails
Your donations are tax-deductible to the fullest extent allowed by the IRS. Thank you for your support.
To learn more, visit hikeformentalhealth.org.
To join a hike click here.