Founded in 2018 by US Navy warship captain Matthew Brown and pro baseball player Brad Markey, Chimney Trail Health is a mental healthcare company specializing in preventive care and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy training. Their training reduces destructive anxiety, depression, and even suicide rates — particularly in military and veteran communities. Chimney Trail’s current curriculum provides a Waypoint Kit delivered to your home or business each quarter, packed with a theme-based, self-paced, research-backed outdoor activity (and all the equipment required) designed to overcome cognitive distortions and build resilience.
“With these kits, Matt and the team at Chimney Trail Health are making a difference that I’ll never make,” says 7Factor’s Founder and CEO, Jeremy Duvall. “I mean, I’ll try, but this team has my heartstrings in terms of what they’re trying to do. Their mission is to help keep service members from taking their own lives. They target a very vulnerable community that is not placed in the limelight for political reasons. There’s nothing else I can say about their importance.”
How do the kits actually work? Ahron Oddman, entrepreneur, former Marine Corps pilot, and Chimney Trail Health subscriber, describes how one Waypoint Kit helped his family: “When we did a kit with my daughters, it inspired some great conversations around the breakfast table.” The activity — identifying aquatic bugs in their different stages of life — was designed to address a cognitive distortion called overgeneralization. “You can find yourself in a position where the way something has been feels like the way it’ll always be,” Oddman says, “but looking at these bugs in various stages of their life shows that things can change, and you have the power in how they change.”
While all of the activities and themes chosen by Chimney Trail Health are fun and interactive, what’s most impressive for us at 7Factor is how they implement interesting, science-backed challenges to help people grow, thrive, and do good things. And thanks to Chimney Trail’s new involvement with Stanford University’s Hoover Institution, psychologists and psychiatrists from Stanford, John Hopkins University, Brown, University of Pennsylvania, and Harvard are vetting new curriculum to ensure the exercises are grounded in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT).
Why is all this important to them, and to us?
Addressing a Mental Health Imperative
“After my final tour as commanding officer of USS SCOUT,” Brown explains, “I discovered that one of my best young officers had taken his own life. Never would I have guessed he was suffering in this way.” Caught by such devastating surprise, Brown reached out to friends and co-workers, as well as different research operations and academic institutions to ask, “Are you seeing this too?”
“So many people said, ‘Oh yeah, it’s a thing,’” he says. “We’re seeing this in the Coast Guard, Marines . . . It was clear there’s a real need for mental healthcare and resilience building. But beyond the personal stories we heard, the US Surgeon General also published a series of takeaways that show mental health as THE defining health issue of our age. Everything else is secondary.”
To combat this mental healthcare deficit, Chimney Trail Health originally focused on activities for children and families. But research demonstrates that these CBT exercises are just as effective for adults — including those on active duty in our military.
“There’s a ton of research out there on how to create indelible memories — how to make someone remember something,” Brown explains. “And that’s to put them in an unfamiliar environment.” Chimney Trail leverages tools to create memories to make CBT accessible to all of us. They’re creating fun, safe, outdoor adventures that build strong memories while providing the tools and confidence needed to maintain healthy mental states.
Accessible Toolkits Mean Greater Reach
“Normally,” Brown elaborates, “to receive CBT guidance you’d have to talk to a therapist. But a lot of people can’t ‘just go to a therapist.’ And even if they could, the number of people who need counseling will always be greater than the number of therapists available. We wanted to combine outdoor concepts and some of CBT’s ‘greatest hits’ as a preventative toolkit anyone can use.”
To date, Chimney Trail has distributed over 2,500 Waypoint Kits to individuals. “Real estate agents love it as a closing gift,” Brown says. “They’ll purchase the first kit, or give a gift certificate for a whole subscription.” But Chimney Trail Health is currently working with the U.S. Department of Defense and Veterans Affairs to secure contracts that will make their services more accessible — and affordable — for those who need it.
“Our community is desperate for this service,” Brown emphasizes. “7Factor’s strategic investment has allowed us to keep the lights on until bigger contracts come through.” Once this happens, 7Factor will have the opportunity to help Chimney Trail Health further grow and reach more audiences, including institutional firms and the corporate wellness markets.
“We’re proud,” Brown says, “that our subscriptions are vetted for clinical rigor and, in many cases, are covered by health insurance and Health Savings Accounts.”
At 7Factor, our mission is to work with smart people who care about quality, and help them grow. To reward people for their work while supporting their balanced lives. To take on interesting challenges that stretch our minds as we serve our clients well. Investing in Chimney Trail is an extension of this mission. It’s a chance for us to lift up others by providing the opportunity to take on interesting challenges, grow, and live balanced, healthy lives.
For more information about piloting Chimney Trail Health’s program at your company, contact Matt Brown directly at email@example.com.