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ADAM's* Story

Honestly, I wouldn’t have made it through without this program.

Adam* is smiling. At the time this story was written, he was preparing to be discharged from the Abbie J. Lane’s inpatient mental health unit after three months.

Adam largely credits his smile, and his ability to be discharged, to a recreation therapy program called “Change of Scenery.”

Change of Scenery was funded for clients of the Abbie J. Lane’s inpatient mental health unit through a 2015-2016 Mental Health Foundation of Nova Scotia Capital Health Addictions and Mental Health Program grant. The program offers clients the opportunity to access nature as part of their therapy throughout the recovery process. It provides therapeutic opportunities outside of the hospital that facilitate the development of skills for optimal success in the community, in addition to exposing clients to low cost, healthy leisure to continue post discharge. Group activities include camping, exploring local parks, sea kayaking, fishing, and biking trails. Literature has shown that wilderness therapy has many positive effects, including improvement in self concept, social attitude, and reduction in emotional problems.

Adam says camping was his favourite outing. “We made meals together, went fishing and kayaking, and had a campfire with s’mores.” He says the camping trip helped with the social aspect of living with a mental illness and allowed him to build relationships with new friends.

Over his three months in hospital, Adam lost 20 pounds with the support of this program. “I have a more active lifestyle,” he says, “and I’m in shape to do the things I want now.”

“The people who run these programs become like family. They keep your mind off being in the hospital.” Adam credits recreation therapy programming and the therapists who make it possible for providing comfort and support during his recovery process. “We’re very lucky to have this program at the Abbie J. Lane.”

Adam was excited to leave that Friday morning, already planning for a trip to a concert in Moncton. He plans to continue making wilderness activities part of his life.

After a rocky first trip in the boat, he laughs, “I definitely need to give kayaking a chance again!”


*name has been changed