Backpackers standing on a scenic lookout

About Us

Inner Roads is a Montana-based program that has operated continuously since 2003.

 

In 2018, Inner Roads was established as an independent nonprofit entity, developed by experienced former guides, therapists, and logistics coordinators, with a mission to maintain public access to evidence-based healing opportunities through self-discovery in the outdoors. 

It is our mission to provide disadvantaged youth with affordable outdoor therapeutic experiences that accelerate growth, healing, and empowerment. 

Inner Roads is a licensed healthcare facility under the Montana Department of Health & Human Services: Outdoor Behavioral Program  #500012

Click here to view our 2020 990 EZ

Why Outside?

While many youth benefit from weekly therapy sessions in an office, many more require support and opportunities beyond the capacity of a single professional or even their current community. Outdoor Behavioral Healthcare is an evidence-based treatment model resulting from over 30 years of worldwide research. This model utilizes everyday obstacles and opportunities in the Outdoors to instill the following outcomes:

  • increased self-esteem and self-control

  • improved social & communication skills

  • decreased family conflict

  • heightened empathy

  • increased problem-solving skills

  • increased accountability

  • decreased high school drop-out rates

  • a marked reduction in: depression, anxiety, trauma-related symptoms, addictive behaviors, criminal activity, & family dysfunction 

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"Having worked in the outdoors in a therapeutic setting for over a decade... it seems obvious that wilderness therapy is the most effective form of therapy that exists, seeing as it is focused on building a relationship with something larger than yourself and living in a community with purpose." 

Chris Conway, Professional Therapeutic Wilderness Guide  

Image by Gaetano Cessati

Why Inner Roads?

Unfortunately, the vast majority of therapeutic wilderness programs in the country costs each family approximately $45,000-60,000.

This is due to the application of “for-profit” business models to mental health services, and clearly precludes many of the most dire situations from receiving some of the most effective help.

 

At Inner Roads, we are unwilling to accept that finances be the deciding factor between barely surviving and thriving as a family. As one of only two nonprofit therapeutic wilderness programs in the country, we intend to ensure that youth in poverty, many of whom experience the most extensive trauma, abuse, neglect, and mental health issues in our nation, are equally able to receive these essential services. We offer 2 high school credits to program graduates to support continued academic success.

 

Further, we have found that the pristine wilderness areas of Montana are not only ideal for fostering healthy challenges and connection to the environment, but also provide essential access to mental health services for a population who is suffering at some of the highest rates in the nation.