Mental Health, Crisis Intervention

HIKE FOR MENTAL HEALTH INC

Share the joy of hiking; bring hope to those with mental illness.

Friendswood, TX   |  hikeformentalhealth.org

Mission

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 is to: 1. Increase awareness and raise funds to alleviate the suffering of those living with mental illness. 2. Increase public appreciation for and responsible use of wilderness trails.

Ruling year info

2012

Principal Officer

Leo Walker

Main address

207 West Heritage Drive

Friendswood, TX 77546 USA

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EIN

45-4085310

Cause area (NTEE code) info

Alliance/Advocacy Organizations (F01)

Other Recreation, Sports, or Leisure Activities N.E.C. (N99)

IRS filing requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990 or 990-EZ.

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Communication

Programs and results

What we aim to solve

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

The stigma surrounding mental illness impedes many people suffering with mental illnesses from receiving the help and support they need. Mental illnesses are poorly understood, and the lack of understanding fosters the stigma. Treatment options continue to improve every year but more research is needed. At the same time, we all have at our disposal one the best ways to maintain positive mental health and help prevent the stresses of everyday living from leading to more serious mental health issues: nature and exercise. Hiking combines both. So we organize hikes to introduce more people to the health benefits of hiking (preventative) and we use the hikes as fundraisers to support brain & behavior research leading to new understanding and new treatment options.

Our programs

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

Mental health research

HIKE for Mental Health directs 80% of the funds received from its hikes to alleviating the suffering of mental illness. The bulk of these funds are dedicated improving our understanding of brain and behavior disorders, thereby improving treatments and shedding light on the unknowns of mental illness which can foster the stigma that surrounds it. Our research partner is the Brain & Behavior Research Foundation.

Population(s) Served
People with diseases and illnesses
Budget
$50,000

HIKE for Mental Health dedicated its Veterans Day Walk to alleviating suffering from mental illnesses and emotional distress in our
veterans and active duty service men and women. Many of them return from the battlefield but continue to fight internal battles
for their mental health and peace of mind. Donations from our Veterans Day Walk support vets and service personnel in three ways.
First, in partnership with an Army Medical Center in Texas, we presented purchase books, workbooks, videos
and other self-help materials for patients of its behavioral ward, which treats primarily active duty service men and women.
Second, we supported VFW Post 7109 in Pearland, TX, our local partner and co-sponsor of the Pearland Veterans Day Walk
for PTSD Awareness, in their effort to increase services offered to veterans and to support their initiative to become
a more integral part of the community. Third, we contributed to Counseling Connections for Change, a 501c3 nonprofit
counselling center in Pearland, TX, for community education and awareness programs.

Population(s) Served
Veterans
Military personnel
Budget
$12,000

HIKE for Mental Health designated the Appalachian Trail Conversancy and the Pacific Crest Trail Association as recipients
of its 2015 awards to promote responsible use of and to preserve wilderness trails. As an organizer of hikes on which we promote
awareness of the stigma associated with mental illness, we believe it is important to give back a portion of our receipts to maintain
and preserve trails and trail systems.
In 2015, we awarded 20% of the donations received from hiker sponsorship, or $7,000 each, to the ATC and the PCTA.
The ATC’s mission is to preserve and manage the Appalachian Trail – ensuring that its vast natural beauty and priceless cultural
heritage can be shared and enjoyed today, tomorrow, and for centuries to come. The PCTA protects, preserves and promotes the PCT
as one of the best trail experiences on Earth.

Population(s) Served
Nomadic people
Budget
$10,000

Where we work

Charting impact

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Five powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

What is the organization aiming to accomplish?

Our goal is simple - a world in which everyone, including those who suffer from mental illness, can find the simple joy of living. We believe that this goal can only be accomplished by eliminating the stigma associated with mental illness and by deepening our understanding of mental illness, its causes, its treatments, and its cures. We believe that for many people, including those living with mental illness, time spent hiking in Nature can be an effective part of their wellness program.

Our approach is simple:<br/><br/>1. We organize and promote responsible wilderness hikes.<br/>2. Hiker-volunteers collect sponsorships to participate in the hikes.<br/>3. We distribute 100% of the net proceeds to our mission causes.<br/><br/>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.<br/><br/>This ground roots approach encourages involvement and dialog about mental illness among our hiker- and sponsor-community.

HIKE for Mental Health is an all-volunteer, grass-roots organization. We have established a strong, positive reputation within the hiking community in the US and forged a great partnership with the Brain & Behavior Research Foundation. We are small but dedicated. And growing.

We make progress every year, every month, with every hike and every step. The rising total of funds we have contributed to mental health research grants and to trail conservation are perhaps the most quantifiable signs of our success. Less tangible but perhaps even more important are stories we hear on our hikes, or see posted on our social media pages, from people who say we have given them the courage to tell someone about their struggle with mental illness. The stigma of mental illness is strong, but person by person we can educate and increase understanding until there is no more stigma surrounding mental illness than their is surrounding physical illnesses like breast cancer.

As an all-volunteer, grassroots group, we are proud of what we have accomplished since our founding in 2011. We have raised more than $335,000 for research grants to alleviate the suffering of mental illness. More $75,000 has been directed to non-profit organizations that protect our country's major wilderness trails. And veterans programs in and around Pearland, Texas, have received more than $45,000. We have introduced scored of people to wilderness hiking and raised awareness with hundreds of the perils of the stigma of mental illness. Yet, until the stigma surrounding mental illness has been completed stamped out, our mission is not complete.

Financials

HIKE FOR MENTAL HEALTH INC
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Operations

The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.

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Connect with nonprofit leaders

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HIKE FOR MENTAL HEALTH INC

Board of directors
as of 1/7/2020
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board chair

Leo Walker

No Affiliation

Term: 2018 - 2020

Leo Walker

No Affiliation

Tom Kennedy

No Affiliation

Nancy Kozanecki

No Affiliation

Diana Pease

Board leadership practices

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

GuideStar worked with BoardSource, the national leader in nonprofit board leadership and governance, to create this section.

  • Board orientation and education
    Does the board conduct a formal orientation for new board members and require all board members to sign a written agreement regarding their roles, responsibilities, and expectations? Yes
  • CEO oversight
    Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year ? No
  • Ethics and transparency
    Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year? Yes
  • Board composition
    Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership? Yes
  • Board performance
    Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years? No

Keywords

"mental health" scientific research hiking "mental illness"