A group of young mental health patients from Leicester and Leicestershire took part in a hiking trip to boost their self-confidence and social skills.

The nine men and women, aged from their late teens to their late twenties, spent three nights in the Derbyshire Peak District facing their anxieties as well as some of the challenging hills, significant heights, and an angry bull!

Each member of the group was living with, or recovering from, psychosis.

They were accompanied by five staff from Leicestershire Partnership NHS Trust’s psychosis intervention and early recovery team, and professional walking guides from Blackdog Outdoors.

Consultant psychiatrist Nandini Chakraborty said: “We selected people who we thought could benefit from an increase in their confidence and self-esteem, to show them an activity they could do for themselves.

“We saw changes straight away. People who initially were hesitant to talk to others, by the end of three days they were setting up card games, helping with the cooking, teaching other skills, and were at a different level altogether.

“All of them enjoyed it. One of the patients came up to me and said ‘Please can we have another trip before the end of the year?’

“The next step is to encourage these people to try to organise things for themselves.”

Hiking gave the patients an opportunity to work together as a team, to practise problem-solving skills, and to learn how to cope with the unexpected. Continued hiking should also boost their physical health and sense of wellbeing.

The £5,000 trip was part funded by the Leicester-based Carlton Hayes Mental Health Charity, with funds distributed on its behalf by LPT’s in-house charity Raising Health.

Carolyn Pascoe, LPT’s Raising Health fundraising manager, said: “This is an example of the added extras which we can offer some patients through charitable funds which enhance their quality of life, and complement their treatment.”

To donate to LPT’s Raising Health charity, please visit https://www.raisinghealth.org.uk/donate/donate .