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Article

Mission Himalaya: Exploring the Impact of a Supported High-Altitude Mountaineering Expedition on the Well-Being and Personal Development of UK Military Veterans

1
Centre for Human Performance, Performance in Extreme Environments, Leeds Beckett University, Leeds LS1 3HE, UK
2
Social & Economic Research Institute, Sheffield Hallam University, Sheffield S1 1WB, UK
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editors: Paul B. Tchounwou and Jeffery Spickett
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2022, 19(9), 5049; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph19095049
Received: 18 February 2022 / Revised: 13 April 2022 / Accepted: 19 April 2022 / Published: 21 April 2022
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Health, Wellbeing and Performance in Extreme Environments)
Meaningful, positive, emotional and challenging adventurous activities may generate personal growth or recovery from ill health or injury. In this study, we used a distinctive longitudinal and immersive research approach to explore the psychological impact of a high-altitude expedition to the Nepalese Himalaya on 10 (9 males) UK military veterans with longstanding well-being concerns. In the 12 months prior to the expedition, participants took part in three training weekends in the UK mountains. During the expedition, instructors—who were all experienced health coaches—facilitated reflective practices with the beneficiaries throughout, focusing on experiential transfer to day-to-day lives after the expedition. Follow-up interviews, conducted up to 18-months post-expedition, identified that the most desirable changes aligned with the three innate psychological needs of self-determination theory: autonomy, competence and relatedness. The routines established during the preparation stage and during the expedition itself activated a renewed energy for personal improvement. At 18 months post-expedition, the key changes reflected altered perspective, employment skills and work–life balance, increased physical activity and enhanced personal awareness and mindfulness. Importantly, supported by regular health coaching and focused on the transfer of learning, expeditions can activate meaningful long-term changes to the well-being and personal development of military veterans. View Full-Text
Keywords: psychological well-being; veterans; behaviour change; mental health; adventure therapy; recovery; health coaching; post-expedition growth; expedition; mountaineering; psychosocial development; self-determination theory psychological well-being; veterans; behaviour change; mental health; adventure therapy; recovery; health coaching; post-expedition growth; expedition; mountaineering; psychosocial development; self-determination theory
MDPI and ACS Style

Kay, C.W.P.; Wingfield, H.L.; McKenna, J. Mission Himalaya: Exploring the Impact of a Supported High-Altitude Mountaineering Expedition on the Well-Being and Personal Development of UK Military Veterans. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2022, 19, 5049. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph19095049

AMA Style

Kay CWP, Wingfield HL, McKenna J. Mission Himalaya: Exploring the Impact of a Supported High-Altitude Mountaineering Expedition on the Well-Being and Personal Development of UK Military Veterans. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. 2022; 19(9):5049. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph19095049

Chicago/Turabian Style

Kay, Christopher W.P., Harriet L. Wingfield, and Jim McKenna. 2022. "Mission Himalaya: Exploring the Impact of a Supported High-Altitude Mountaineering Expedition on the Well-Being and Personal Development of UK Military Veterans" International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health 19, no. 9: 5049. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph19095049

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