About Our Mission
There is so much stress, sadness, and dysfunction in today’s society. From veterans to civil servants, to the working class and our youth. The number of people struggling with emotional and mental challenges is staggering.
Between 11% and 20% of veterans from Operations Iraqi Freedom (OIF) and Enduring Freedom (OEF) experience post-traumatic stress each year. According to the U.S. Department of Defense, 275 Soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines took their own lives in 2015.
In another study, 216,000 law enforcement officers suffer from post-traumatic stress (PTS) or some other form of emotional distress. An estimated 150,000 officers have symptoms of PTS and recent research indicates that one-third of all active-duty and retired officers suffer from PTS, yet most don't even realize it. According to a “Badge of Life” study there were 51 deaths by suicide of law enforcement officers in the last six months of 2015.
The National Comorbidity Survey Replication Adolescent Supplement, a national face-to-face household survey of 10,148 U.S. adolescents, found that nearly two-thirds of adolescents in the U.S. have a history of anger attacks. It also found that one in twelve young people — close to six million adolescents — meet criteria for a diagnosis of Intermittent Explosive Disorder (IED), a syndrome characterized by persistent uncontrollable anger attacks not accounted for by other mental disorders.
According to the National Institute of Mental Health, nearly 25% of teens between the ages of 13 and 18 suffer from an anxiety disorder. Sadly, 80% never receive treatment for their condition.
How We Help
Wilderness/ecotherapy programming bolsters healing because time in the natural world benefits our brain activity. Fresh air and open spaces provide a reset. Uncluttered environments and distance from technologies give our minds a chance to recalibrate, reorganize, and rest. It’s an opportunity to truly re-position and listen to oneself without the distractions of everyday life.
Adventure-based experiences are a foundation for clinical work. The SOIL Foundation’s wilderness-based models offer outdoor activity with its inherent emotional challenges, relationship building, and behavioral choices to explore broader psychological themes, patterns, and strategies. Lastly, adventure-based activities are an excellent venue to build positive psychological skills and traits. Resilience, resourcefulness, resolve and responsibility are drawn to the forefront and developed in these interventions.
There are six ways that nature helps in healing the mind:
Nature restores attention and natural cognitive abilities
Nature reduces stress
Nature boosts creativity
Nature soothes emotions and builds confidence and self-esteem
Nature facilitates social connections: Green group activities, such as farming or hiking, nurture friendships with like-minded people. Contrary to zapping or browsing social media, working together in nature reduces social isolation and makes us feel we are doing something meaningful. People who spend more time outdoors are reported to have more close friends.
Nature increases spiritual growth