Mountain Hiking Improves Hopelessness, Depression, and Suicidal Ideation in High-Level Suicide Risk

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Researchers in Salzburg, Austria found that 20 participants who had attempted suicide at least once showed a significant reduction in hopelessness (P < 0.0001), depression (P < 0.0001) and suicidal ideation (P < 0.005) associated with a 9-week mountain hiking program. Results will appear in Acta Psychiatrica Scandinavica.

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Note from Kermit Cole, “In the News” editor:
“P” stands for the chance that any one instance of a study’s result might have happened by chance. The standard threshold for “significance” in a study is “P” less than 0.05 (A five percent chance of the result having occurred by chance). I included the P values in this study because they are so much more robust: less than a one in 10,000 chance that the finding of reduced hopelessness or depression might have happened by chance, or less than a five in 1000 chance that the finding of reduced suicidal ideation might have happened by chance. Given that we’re talking about the effectiveness of taking a walk, I thought it seemed pertinent to highlight the strong “significance” value that the study reports.

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Mad in America hosts blogs by a diverse group of writers. These posts are designed to serve as a public forum for a discussion—broadly speaking—of psychiatry and its treatments. The opinions expressed are the writers’ own.

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Kermit Cole
Kermit Cole, MFT, founding editor of Mad in America, works in Santa Fe, New Mexico as a couples and family therapist. Inspired by Open Dialogue, he works as part of a team and consults with couples and families that have members identified as patients. His work in residential treatment — largely with severely traumatized and/or "psychotic" clients — led to an appreciation of the power and beauty of systemic philosophy and practice, as the alternative to the prevailing focus on individual pathology. A former film-maker, he has undergraduate and master's degrees in psychology from Harvard University, as well as an MFT degree from the Council for Relationships in Philadelphia. He is a doctoral candidate with the Taos Institute and the Free University of Brussels. You can reach him at [email protected]

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