Australians who have gone on school camps know firsthand that outdoor learning programs support personal development and learning new skills.

A study by the Outdoor Youth Programs Research Alliance (OYPRA) developed and conducted over nine years has shown camps and outdoor education programs can lead to improved mental health and wellbeing in young people.

Now, through world-first research undertaken by OYPRA, there is clear evidence that camps can improve the mental health and wellbeing of young Australians.

img: OYPRA Research FactsThe study took place over a 3 year period involving almost 335 young Australians aged 14–16. OYPRA’s research measured both the short and long-term impacts of outdoor education by evaluating the wellbeing of year 9 students who participated in purpose-designed camps compared to those who did not.

The six month trial surveyed students on how they measured their physical and mental health, confidence, connectedness and other measures five times before and after they participated on a 5 day camp program.

OYPRA’s study identified that students with higher levels of anxiety and those with low confidence are likely to benefit the most from outdoor learning programs. 

The comprehensive research by OYPRA showed there are different benefits depending on the student’s state of wellbeing and mental health before attending camp, supporting the idea that specialised outdoor learning programs could be delivered to support those suffering mental illness.

The incidence of mental illness in Australia continues to rise amongst young people. Camps and outdoor learning programs offer a solution to strengthen and support the mental health of young Australians as proven in research conducted by OYPRA.

To read more about this research please click here or view the 'Research Shows Aussie Camps Boost Mental Health' Media Release.