Is Wilderness Therapy Safe

We provide the safest environment possible for our students. One of the ways we do this is through gathering and monitoring risk management data. In 1999, RedCliff developed the incident review committee. This committee is responsible for reviewing each incident. As a result, this allows us to create a safer environment for students and employees. 

RedCliff’s commitment to safety expands beyond our program. In 1997, RedCliff and a handful of other innovative programs gathered to discuss ways to increase the safety of wilderness therapy overall. From that gathering came the OBH Council and later OBHRC, which researches risks associated with wilderness treatment. The findings on 10 years of risk management research were published in 2013 by Steve Javorski and Michael Gass from the University of New Hampshire. In their study they found that:

  • Adolescents participating in wilderness therapy programs are three times less likely to visit the emergency room for an injury than kids at home.
  • Adolescents are 140 times more likely to be injured playing in a high school football game than participating in a wilderness therapy program.

The original article by Javorski and Gass.

Wilderness Safety Comparisons

Research Overview

Hike 2

Does Wilderness Work?


Is Wilderness Safe?


What About Health?


Current Research


Risk Management

Session 2

Outdoor Behavioral Healthcare