The recovery process at Fire Mountain is an intricate and ever-evolving practice. The teens who enter into treatment with us receive a well-structured clinical treatment plan with group, family, and individual therapy built into their schedules. However, recovery is not just learning to work through ones issues in therapy, it is also learning to replace negative coping mechanisms with positive ones and understanding the importance and power of taking care of your mental and physical health.
During the weekends when the teens are off of school, one significant part of this process is our Saturday hiking program. This is integrated into our weekends so that our teens focus on their overall wellness through the exploration of Rocky Mountain National Park and surrounding national forest near our facility in Estes Park. The time our kids spend in nature, exercising both their minds and bodies, has been shown to decrease levels of depression as well as demonstrate positive coping methods during periods of stress and anxiety.
This past Saturday, the teens took off on a wintery hike to Bear Lake in Rocky Mountain National Park. Regardless of the weather (barring unsafe conditions) we get the teens out every weekend to explore. It is not only great exercise but it also teaches the teens resiliency.
A recent study done by the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health found that running for 15 minutes a day or walking for an hour reduces the risk of major depression by 26%. In addition to relieving depression symptoms, research also shows that maintaining an exercise schedule can prevent relapse.
When our teens return home, we encourage their families to build new traditions into thier daily and weekly routines that can help them continue to reconnect and stay healthy. Joining sports teams, hiking clubs, or even just taking 15 minutes to walk the family dog around the neighborhood together after dinner can help to change old unhealthy routines.