Research Publication Title

A Current Overview of Outdoor Behavioral Healthcare treatment at Enviros Shunda Creek

Major

Psychology

Faculty Mentor

Dr. Lee Gillis

Keywords

Outdoor Behavioral Healthcare, Substance Use Disorder, Mindfulness Based Experiences, Young Adult Males, Adventure Therapy

Abstract

From 2015-2016, drug overdose deaths in the United States involving cocaine, psychostimulants, or both substances combined increased at an alarming rate from 12,122 to 17,258 (Kariisa, Scholl, Wilson, Seth, & Hoots, 2019). Considering the growing number of opioid-related overdoses and deaths, the government of Canada declared a national public health crisis (Federal Action on Opioids). The lack of progress in preventing and treating Substance Use Disorder (SUD; “Mental Health and Substance Use Disorders, 2019) in North America necessitates the development of alternative approaches to therapy. One such alternative is Outdoor Behavioral Healthcare (OBH; Russell, 2003), also known as Adventure Therapy or Wilderness Therapy. OBH is a nontraditional treatment option for adolescents and young adults with SUD. Russell, Gillis, and Lewis (2008) differentiate OBH from more traditional programs by its employment of wilderness experiences as a therapeutic milieu, coupled with the application of a clinical treatment model by licensed mental health professionals. Enviros Shunda Creek, located in Alberta, Canada, is one example of such a program. Enviros Shunda Creek is a ten-bed, 90-day OBH program for young adult males (ages 18-24) with SUD. As a way to increase awareness of the interplay between mindfulness and substance use, clients participate in Mindfulness Based Experiences (MBE’s; Russell, Gillis, & Heppner, 2015) during treatment at Shunda. Utilizing data from the Enviros Shunda Creek program, a pilot study including 32 young adult males was conducted by Russell, Gillis, and Heppner in 2015. The study demonstrated that MBE’s played an instrumental role in the recovery of Shunda Creek clients. Nevertheless, the relatively small sample size of this pilot study calls for further analyses. Thus, the aim of the current study is to revisit this relationship with a larger sample at Shunda Creek. Additionally, findings from three poster studies from the same research lab are discussed.

Comments

Our research is IRB-exempt. For any supporting documents, please reach out to the lead author at garrett.cook@bobcats.gcsu.edu

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A Current Overview of Outdoor Behavioral Healthcare treatment at Enviros Shunda Creek

From 2015-2016, drug overdose deaths in the United States involving cocaine, psychostimulants, or both substances combined increased at an alarming rate from 12,122 to 17,258 (Kariisa, Scholl, Wilson, Seth, & Hoots, 2019). Considering the growing number of opioid-related overdoses and deaths, the government of Canada declared a national public health crisis (Federal Action on Opioids). The lack of progress in preventing and treating Substance Use Disorder (SUD; “Mental Health and Substance Use Disorders, 2019) in North America necessitates the development of alternative approaches to therapy. One such alternative is Outdoor Behavioral Healthcare (OBH; Russell, 2003), also known as Adventure Therapy or Wilderness Therapy. OBH is a nontraditional treatment option for adolescents and young adults with SUD. Russell, Gillis, and Lewis (2008) differentiate OBH from more traditional programs by its employment of wilderness experiences as a therapeutic milieu, coupled with the application of a clinical treatment model by licensed mental health professionals. Enviros Shunda Creek, located in Alberta, Canada, is one example of such a program. Enviros Shunda Creek is a ten-bed, 90-day OBH program for young adult males (ages 18-24) with SUD. As a way to increase awareness of the interplay between mindfulness and substance use, clients participate in Mindfulness Based Experiences (MBE’s; Russell, Gillis, & Heppner, 2015) during treatment at Shunda. Utilizing data from the Enviros Shunda Creek program, a pilot study including 32 young adult males was conducted by Russell, Gillis, and Heppner in 2015. The study demonstrated that MBE’s played an instrumental role in the recovery of Shunda Creek clients. Nevertheless, the relatively small sample size of this pilot study calls for further analyses. Thus, the aim of the current study is to revisit this relationship with a larger sample at Shunda Creek. Additionally, findings from three poster studies from the same research lab are discussed.

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