Mental Health, Crisis Intervention


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

Friendswood, TX


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


Principal Officer

Leo Walker

Main Address

207 West Heritage Drive

Friendswood, TX 77546 USA


"mental health" scientific research hiking "mental illness"





Cause Area (NTEE Code)

Alliance/Advocacy Organizations (F01)

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

IRS Filing Requirement

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Social Media

Programs + Results

What we aim to solve

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

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

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Mental health research

Veterans Day Walk for PTSD Awareness

Wilderness Trail Conservation

Where we work

Charting Impact

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

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

What is the organization aiming to accomplish?

What are the organization's key strategies for making this happen?

What are the organization's capabilities for doing this?

How will they know if they are making progress?

What have they accomplished so far and what's next?

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:

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.

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.

External Reviews



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

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Board Leadership Practices

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SOURCE: Self-reported by organization


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?



Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year?



Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year?



Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership?



Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years?