Today is World Mental Health Day and this year's theme is ‘Young People and Mental Health In a Changing World’, as set by the World Federation for Mental Health. To mark such an important day, we wanted to celebrate something that was happening in our own community. To shine a light on something positive that fitted in with this year's theme but also lived up to the World Federation's Five Ways to Wellbeing: Connect, Be Active, Take Notice, Keep Learning, Give.
While we are lucky to have many amazing people in our community, one person and one group really stood out, Mel McDermott and Galz Gone Wild. What is Galz Gone Wild? Well that is both an easy and difficult question. GGW is, at its simplest, a hiking group for women. At a deeper level, it is a community of women who use outdoor adventures as a way of connecting with one another and relationship bonding and use nature as a form of meditation and empowerment.
Mel is the inspiring leader in the middle of all of this. She set up GGW over a year ago after going through some hard years herself. Her full story is in the video above and as you’ll hear she got incredible help from nature. Her passion is now to spread that message to as many women as she can. Her message is simply expressed as “Confidence to Conquer”. Confidence to conquer the trail or an emotion you are experiencing. The answer is with nature and a community to support you.
Days like today and people like Mel are so important to celebrate. We are doing our small bit to support such amazing positivity. What are you doing to celebrate World Mental Health Day?
See below for the full transcript of Mel’s own words from the video.
"It's not just about the confidence to conquer the mountain, it's also about having the confidence to conquer an emotion or a rough time you're going through.
I battled depression for almost three years. It was a hard time and I tried so many ways to beat it. At one point, I asked myself when am I happiest? I remembered my childhood and the amazing memories in nature and I found healing and a space to breathe in the mountains. It was an incredible feeling.
Nature can be such a powerful ally to have. In the modern world, it is easy to feel stressed and overwhelmed by everything you need to do. When I’m on a trail, I feel completely disconnected from that and yet more connected to what’s important. Nature has more gifts than many of us realise.
Even after improving and enjoying myself , there was still something missing. I needed to experience this with other people. A lot of the groups I joined were focused on the destination and the speed of the hike, not about the view, the chats and the time to just daydream. So just over a year ago, I set up Galz Gone Wild with the intention of getting women better connected with nature and the outdoors. I was interested in a community where women would feel encouraged and empowered.
I want more and more women to use nature as a form of meditation and reconnection.
Doing this together, in a community with others, is such an important part of what I believe in. Nature will help you. It will give you the space and the tools but you need the community behind you as support too.
It is about inspiring each other to conquer the trail.”