Hiking for Mental Health – AECS Spain, Catalonia

Name of the activity: Hiking for Mental Health

Country/NMO: AECS Spain, Catalonia

Program: Mental Health

Contact information: contact [email protected] to get in touch with the Activity Coordinator

Type of the activity: First-time Activity

Category: Education

Focus area: Mental Health promotion and Prevention, Mental Health among Medical Students

Sustainable Development Goals addressed: SDG 3 (Good Health and Well-Being)

General description:

Caminada per la Salut Mental or ‘Hiking for Mental Health’ took place on the past 12th of October 2022 in Girona, Catalonia. Its aim was to create a safe space where students of the University of Girona could reflect on mental health issues and prevention while promoting physical activity in nature as a way of socialization. Flashcards regarding habits and how these affect the mental health and well-being of participants were used as prompts to initiate these conversations.

Problem statement:

The prevalence of Mental Health Disorders among college students has experienced a significant rise since the start of the covid-19 pandemic. Concerning our faculty, a study regarding the mental health of medical students was conducted during the 2021-2022 course in the Faculty of Medicine of the University of Girona and preliminary results, which are yet to be published, showed a high-prevalence of mental health disorders within the student body. 

Target groups:

  • Medical students
  • Healthcare Students
  • Other Students


  • Medical students
  • Healthcare Students
  • Other Students


Through this activity we wanted to achieve 3 objectives:

1)To invite the students of the University of Girona to do light physical activity in nature

2)To create a space of reflexion for the students of the University of Girona regarding mental health prevention and promotion supported by flashcards

3)To invite the students of the University of Girona to gather and meet other students with similar interests.

For this, we pictured the health definition of the WHO: “physical, mental and social well-being”. All of our objectives are achievable, relevant because they tackle an identified problem and time-bound to the day of the activity. Now that we come back to them, we have realised that they may lack specificity and they have proven to be difficult to measure. 



OUTCOME 1: the participants took part in a hike.

INDICATOR 1.1: a hike is done

INDICATOR 1.2: the hike difficulty is evaluated as low


OUTCOME 2: the organizing committee facilitated virtual flashcards and the participants used them to guide conversations around mental health issues, promotion and prevention.

INDICATOR 2.1: the participants engage in conversations about mental health

INDICATOR 2.2: the flashcards are used as prompts for the conversations


OUTCOME 3: the participants took part in a social activity and interacted with new people.

INDICATOR 3: the students refer to have talked to someone they didn’t know


The organizing committee was formed by 4 people from Girona’s SCOPH local committee, one activity coordinator and 3 other volunteers. We started organizing the activity at the end of August and we worked on it up until the day of the hike, as well as some days afterwards to receive feedback from participants. 

To organize the activity, firstly, we chose the hike, we did a dossier to present the activity and during the month of September we contacted possible partners. We ended up receiving support from the University and partnering up with a local supermarket. 

At the end of September, we started preparing different dynamics to help participants with the introspection. We ended up preparing flashcards that we decided not to print out for sustainability reasons and sent them to participants at the start of the hike.  Finally, to manage the risk we did the hike beforehand to assure it was doable for all and we contacted the University who provided us with insurance for all participants.

Plans for evaluation:

We did not plan a pre-Activity evaluation strategy, nor any monitoring while it was taking place. The evaluation of our activity consisted of a Questionnaire. It had 4 questions where the participants could evaluate several aspects of the hike on a scale from 1 to 10 (quantitative): the materials they were given related to mental health, the difficulty of the hike, the suitability of the communication channels and how much they enjoyed the activity as a whole. This way, we managed to evaluate ⅔ of our objectives. We evaluated whether the materials were useful and created a space for reflecting about mental health and whether the physical effort was not too strenuous and was suitable for all fitness levels. Lastly, we wanted to evaluate the suitability of our promotion channels and whether the activity was enjoyable and accepted and could be repeated. This questionnaire does not properly match the specificity of our objectives, so we would like to develop it further next time.

External collaborations:

Yes we are. We collaborated with the University of Girona who provided insurance for all participants and with a local supermarket, BonArea, who provided all participants with  a water bottle. 

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