Vice Chairperson of Lifelink’s board, Janice Collins blogs for us again on the importance of getting out and about for long-term positive mental health.


Former Scouts and Guides have better mental health in later life according to a recent study.

Researchers found that ex-members were 15% less likely than other adults to suffer anxiety or mood disorders at the age of 50.

Okay, it’s interesting but not exactly surprising as both organisations set out to help improve the physical, mental and spiritual well-being of young people. Although I suspect they didn’t realise the long-term impact it would have.

But what exactly is it these groups do that has such a positive effect on mental health in later life?

I’m a former Girl Guide myself, which will come as a shock to many who think I’m unable to exist without four-inch Jimmy Choos and a set of GHDs.

And as someone who knows her way around a woggle, I can confidently say that what the Scouts and Guides do – albeit unwittingly – is address the NHS’s five steps to mental well-being. Here’s how:

  1. Connect. They bring together like-minded people on a regular basis and give them collective goals.
  2. Be active. They reward staying active with badges for hillwalking, athletics and even parascending.
  3. Take notice. They make you aware of the world around you.
  4. Keep learning. It’s not all knot-tying, today you can go for a media relations and marketing badge (if only they’d had that in my day!)
  5. Give to others. Bob-a-job, need I say more?

So there you have it, whatever age you are, if you want to improve your mental health, get Scout and about (uniforms optional).