Since the pandemic, promoting mental health awareness and best practices have been at the front of everyone’s minds, and for good reason–1 in 5 Americans will experience a mental illness in a given year (CDC). KAEE member Amanda Patrick is using her passion for the environment to fuel her therapy practice and provide strategies to connect people with nature to benefit their mental health.
KAEE: What is your current role?
Amanda: Currently, I work in training and employee development full-time and as an integrative mental health therapist through a group private practice.
KAEE: What projects or programs are you working on that particularly inspire you?
Amanda: I love exploring and building programs that weave together mental health and nature. When COVID hit, telehealth felt daunting and draining. So, I traded my flats for Chacos, packed up my hammock and sunscreen, and went outdoors. It renewed my own love of nature, and it has re-inspired me to continue using at my own practice. People benefit from nature in so many ways, but especially in regards to their mental health.
KAEE: What goals do you have for your organization or programs within the EE field?
Amanda: I hope to work more with KAEE and others to build partnerships and networks to bridge health and wellness with nature. We want it to be a common practice. Our focus is raising awareness to the simple practices that are available to everyone–whether you are struggling with your mental health or not. We want to bring these strategies to everyone within the EE field and beyond.
KAEE: What do you think is the most beneficial part of being involved in KAEE?
Amanda: Being involved with KAEE provides a sense of community and a renewed sense of what is right with the world. KAEE has some of the best people doing work that speaks to my EE heart and my passion. It's also proven to be a source of amazing strength and support for me personally as I have navigated my journey as I have made some lifelong friends. I learn something new from someone every time KAEE is involved, and it has allowed me to strengthen my techniques and practices in my career.
KAEE: Would you like to share a fun fact or tidbit about yourself with the group?
Amanda: When I’m not working, I enjoy being in nature, studying all things cats (from household to carnivores in the wild), snuggling and spoiling my own two kitties, Hemi & Gus, podcasts, music, self care, growing a business, and exploring new small towns with awesome small businesses.