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Creation Date

Spring 2017

Major

Recreation and Parks Administration

Department

Recreation and Park Administration

Degree

Graduate

Mentor

Michael J. Bradley

Mentor Department

Recreation and Park Administration

Abstract

In today’s society people are losing sight of how critical exposure to nature is to one’s health and well-being. Many turn to nature for various reasons; stress, depression, and obesity. Nature also plays a significant role in mental health. It is deeply concerning that the prevalence of mental health problems is constantly rising, with the World Health Organization predicting that depression will be the second biggest cause of ill health worldwide by 2020 (Farmer, 2014). One specific group may benefit from nature more than others, as veterans struggle with depression and PTSD during and after their transition back into society. Across Kentucky, veterans continue to struggle mentally, physically and spiritually and receive no help from government agencies. Therefore, there is a great need for an increase in wilderness-based programs for veterans. The researcher reached out to Veteran Affairs on Eastern Kentucky University’s campus in order to collect accurate data. Surveys were distributed to 1,100 veterans attending EKU. Once the data is collected and analyzed, it will be shared in support of the veteran community in hopes of leading to an increase of wilderness-based programs for veterans and providing them with the care and treatment which many veterans are neglected.

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