Mood Walks for Campus Mental Health promotes the development of new partnerships among postsecondary institutions, social service agencies, hiking clubs, conservation areas and other green spaces both urban and rural, post-secondary institutions and community organizations to create opportunities for capacity building and long-term sustainability.
Interested in becoming a community partner? Read on to find out how your organization could benefit by partnering with a Mood Walks group!
On this page…
- Benefits and Support
- Who Can Be a Partner?
- How to become a Mood Walks Partner
Benefits and Support
Walking groups are valuable tools for mental health service providers, benefitting clients, families, staff, organizations, and communities. Your expertise, resources, and knowledge about your community, the natural environment and hiking could be of great benefit to a Mood Walks group!
Partnership benefits and support include:
- Increasing usage of trails, conservation areas, and other green spaces
- Introducing young people and families to conservation and hiking
- Raising awareness for community and provincial green initiatives
- Participating in Conservation Ontario’s annual Healthy Hikes campaign
- Developing new partnerships with local community organizations
- Raising your postsecondary institution’s profile and building capacity
- Highlighting the health benefits of conservation, parks and green spaces
- Access to the Mood Walks website for additional resources
SUPPORT FROM LEAD POSTSECONDARY INSTITUTIONS
In addition to being responsible for hosting Mood Walks groups, lead postsecondary institutions are encouraged to provide participating partners with guidance and support about engaging with students who are at risk of, or experiencing, mental health issues. Support from lead postsecondary institutions may include:
- Experience working with new and diverse groups of students
- Knowledge of mental health services and supports available in your community
You will not be expected to be an expert in mental health to be part of Mood Walks, although your appreciation of mental health issues will likely increase as part of participating in a Mood Walks program!
Who Can Be a Partner?
Any professional or volunteer organization or program that can offer support to a Mood Walks program! Some examples might include:
- Conservation Areas or Ontario Parks
- Hiking Clubs or Trail Associations
- Community Organizations
How to become a Mood Walks Partner
Mood Walks groups are led by college and university campuses. Lead postsecondary institutions assume all leadership and responsibility for their group, especially regarding interactions with participants who may be experiencing mental health issues.
Local hiking clubs, parks and conservation areas, urban green space initiatives, and other community partners are encouraged to establish lasting relationships with campuses running a Mood Walks group. What these partnerships look like may vary from site to site as all partners work together to determine the best way to utilize each other’s strengths while respecting each partner’s available time and resources.
Here are some ways we envision you might partner or support a Mood Walks group:
HIKING CLUBS AND TRAIL ASSOCIATIONS
- Contribute your hiking knowledge and skills as a volunteer hike leader
- Share your knowledge of local green spaces and hiking trails:
- Give a presentation
- Provide maps
- Recommend a hiking route
- Volunteer your time to pre-walk a trail
- Provide Safe Hiker training or other learning opportunities
- Reduce or waive membership fees for Mood Walks participants
PARKS, CONSERVATION AREAS AND OTHER GREEN SPACES
- Offer guidance about how your trails and green spaces could best be used
- Provide an information session and share information about:
- Your organization
- Activities to participate
- Volunteer initiatives that participants could join
- Information about local conservation or environmental issues
- Share existing resources like classroom space for training or orientation
- Provide discounted or free parking and admission where budget allows
- Attend walks as a supportive volunteer
OTHER PARTNERSHIP OPPORTUNITIES
Be a Mood Walks sponsor — provide financial support to cover the cost of running a Mood Walks group or donate supplies (e.g., gently used or new hiking gear, snacks, etc.).
Provide transportation — help Mood Walks participants get to and from hiking trails.
Spread the word — if you are social media-savvy, you could promote the Mood Walks group using your website or Twitter account.
I’m Interested, But…
Not sure how or if your organization fits with this project? Share concerns or questions by contacting us for more information.