From Staunton State Park's staff and volunteers:
Staunton’s volunteers, maintenance staff and Park Rangers are always focused on our mission - protecting Staunton’s vast natural resources. We work hard every day to ensure you have the best outdoor experience possible.
But, today instead of talking about the latest trail closure or status of our multitude of ongoing projects, we’d like to start a discussion about our most important resource and that’s you - our guests. Because without you we’d be a beautiful landscape with no soul.
Recently, you’ve read the headlines, or have personal situations where we’ve been reminded how devastating depression can be. Yes, we’re stepping a bit out of our ‘wheelhouse’ on this, but it’s time we concentrate on ensuring our family, friends and community members are OK.
Medical professionals and researchers have been following disturbing trends of increasing numbers of American’s suffering from depression and a disturbingly higher rate of depression for children under the age of 12. For example, a Columbia University study showed depression increased significantly among persons in the U.S. from 2005 to 2015, from 6.6 percent to 7.3 percent.
So, what can we do to help reduce depression? Researchers have also found that a simple way to reduce depression is to go outside and recreate. Find a nearby park or natural area and get away from all the noise and be one with nature. A 2015 Stanford University study (and many others) have found quantifiable evidence that walking in nature leads to a lower risk of depression.
If you’re doing well, how about checking in with family, friends or neighbors to see how they’re doing. Take a family hike on an easy nature trail, invite Uncle Lester or the widow across street to take a hike with you. Every little bit helps.
There are also many official resources available to help. The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline provides 24/7, free and confidential support for people in distress, prevention and crisis resources for you or your loved ones. Their phone number is: 1-800-273-8255
Thanks for being friends with Staunton State Park.
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