The Ontario Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sport has awarded Mood Walks, a new initiative led by CMHA Ontario, $150,000 in funding in order to develop and implement a new educational walking and hiking program for older adults living with mental illness.
Mood Walks will promote both physical and mental health by reducing barriers and creating new opportunities for older adults to be physically active. In partnership with Hike Ontario and Conservation Ontario, CMHA Ontario will provide training and support for 30 community mental health agencies across the province to launch new walking programs, connect with local hiking clubs, and improve access to parks, hiking trails, conservation areas, and other resources in the community.
Funding for the project was provided through the Ontario Sport and Recreation Communities Fund, which supports a vision of getting and keeping Ontarians active and living healthier lives.
“Research demonstrates that sustained physical activity contributes to long lasting benefits such as physical, mental, emotional and social well-being,” said Michael Chan, Minister of Tourism, Culture and Sport, in a letter congratulating CMHA Ontario on the funding announcement. “Together we are laying an important foundation for active living through all stages of a person’s life.”
Mood Walks is linked to Conservation Ontario’s Healthy Hikes Challenge, which is currently underway across Ontario. Healthy Hikes encourages Ontarians to spend time hiking in the 270 conservation areas available in the province. The program also gives participants the opportunities to track their progress online for a chance to win great prizes.