Appalachian Trail Histories


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Modern society is no stranger to mental illnesses and the stigmas that surround such health issues. Yet, when an individual receives an official diagnosis the elicited responses vary in differing ways; one person may seek out therapy and support groups while the other individual receives prescribed medications and medical supervision. However, primary and secondary sources over the last 70 years unveil nature’s role as a coping tool for those with mental illnesses. The most prominent origin, particularly in the United States, continues to be the Appalachian Trail. The exhibit examines hikers from the mid-20th century into the 21st century who dealt with mental health issues before walking The Appalachian Trail and their documented experiences during and following the hike.