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Mighty Blue on the Appalachian Trail:

The Ultimate Mid-Life Crisis

Aug 5, 2021

This week's guest is Randi Silverman, the founder of the youth Mental Health Project. I think I can do no better than to replicate the notes that Randi sent me when I asked her about the information and Jesse Cody's hike.

The Youth Mental Health Project

The Youth Mental Health Project is a nonprofit 501(C)(3) organization that seeks to educate, empower, and support families and communities to better understand and care for the mental health of our youth. 

We believe that:

• Mental health lies on a continuum and includes our emotional, psychological, and social well-being.

• A healthy mind is as important to a child’s development as a healthy body.

• In order to address the devastating consequences of the current mental health crisis, early intervention and prevention must become the norm.

We believe every child’s mental well-being needs to be nurtured, and that mental wellness and physical wellness should be equally prioritized. By equipping communities with tools to facilitate open and honest dialogue, providing educational materials that promote mental health literacy, and supporting families who are struggling, The Youth Mental Health Project is at the forefront of creating lasting change.



The Parent Support Network is a parent-driven, family focused program that provides parents who are concerned about their children’s mental health with a dependable and caring network, valuable peer support, and access to peer recommended resources in their local communities.


We help create events that spark positive dialogue and bring the subject of youth mental health to life in a way that is compelling, inspiring, and informative.


We foster community dialogue through community screenings of the award-winning film, No Letting Go. Speakers and materials are available to help facilitate post-screening discussions.


In addition to our Fact Sheet series, our Understanding Youth Mental Health booklet, created in partnership with Silver Hill Hospital and our Understanding Youth Mental Health: Questions Parents Frequently Ask guidebook, created in partnership with Child Guidance Mid-Fairfield County, are great tools for those who want to learn more.


Jesse Cody is the wilderness explorer behind “Hike the Good Hike.” His mission is to use HTGH to raise mental health awareness and help fund organizations dedicated to improving mental health. Several years ago, Jesse's own mental health struggles led him to become suicidal. He was at a crossroads and asked himself, “Do you want to continue on like this, a path that could end in tragedy, or do you want to live?” A series of serendipitous events led him to stumble upon Bill Bryson’s book A Walk In The Woods about hiking the Appalachian Trail. A few months later, he found himself at the trailhead on Springer Mountain about to embark on a 2,200 mile hike, despite the fact that he’d never so much as pitched a tent before. It was the walk that saved his life.

He has since hiked over 7,000 miles and has used his story to inspire countless others. Through his writing and social media presence, he's gained a significant audience who have inspired him to continue growing my mantra “Hike the Good Hike” into a mental health awareness movement. Check out Jesse's video here.


The Youth Mental Health Project is delighted to announce a new partnership with the amazing Jesse Cody and Hike the Good Hike. The mission of The Youth Mental Health Project is to educate, empower, and support families and communities to better understand and care for the mental health of youth. Hike the Good Hike is committed to raising awareness about mental health and helping people cultivate more positive mindsets and lifestyles. Together, we will work to create a world where people are just as aware of their mental health as they are of their physical health, and where all families are able to readily access the mental health care and support they need to live healthy, fulfilling lives. 

While hiking the Pacific Crest Trail this summer, Jesse will be busting stigmas, increasing awareness, raising critical funds, and celebrating hope by "Walking and Talking for Youth Mental Health" - turning his powerful hike into a mental health awareness movement! His goal is to bring attention to the importance of understanding mental health and to raise $50,000 to fund essential programs of The Youth Mental Health Project that support and educate families who are struggling. Show your support by DONATING to his campaign or follow Jesse on social media:

Instagram -

Facebook -


The Youth Mental Health Project is on Instagram at

and on Facebook at

And even after these extensive notes, Randi sent me more vital information.

  • Suicide is the 2nd leading cause of death for people ages 10 - 34
  • 1 out of 5 children experience a mental health disorder in a given year
  • Mental health disorders are more common than cancer, lung disease, and heart disease combined
  • 50% of all lifetime cases of mental health disorders emerge before the age of 14 years old
  • Just like with any other health condition, early intervention and prevention can improve outcomes
  • A 2015 study from Stanford University found that walking in nature yields measurable mental benefits and may reduce risk of depression.
  • one study showed a reduction in stress-related responses such as lower levels of cortisol (a stress hormone) in saliva after hiking.
  • Research suggests that hiking mountainous areas with altitude differences can increase feelings of valence (pleasure), elation (or happiness) and calmness, and feelings of anxiety and fatigue may decrease immediately after hiking.

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