Youth Hans Kai: Strength-based approaches in resilience and recovery

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Hans Kai is a health program that began with adults in Japan that NorWest Co-op Community Health, a non-profit health agency in Winnipeg, Manitoba adapted to fit with youth living in Winnipeg. Hans Kai is based on the idea that people who spend time together monitoring their health will live longer, healthier lives. Using a strength-based approach that allows for individuals to take control over their health improves their resiliency and recovery.Hans Kai for youth includes objectives such as: creating social support networks; increasing youth knowledge around sexual health, drugs, alcohol, and smoking; increasing youth knowledge around physical and mental health and coping; and to support youth in making healthy choices around physical activity and diet. The overall goal for each Hans Kai group is that they continue to meet in a leaderless manner to support each other in good health.These objectives are carried out through Hans Kai Health Schools. Groups of youth meet for nine weeks, once a week for an hour each time and learn about various topics such as reproductive health, diet and exercise, mental health, drugs and alcohol, communication and relationships, and self-acceptance. Sessions are carried out by experts employed by NorWest Co-op Community Health such as kinesiologists, dieticians, nurses, and social workers. Sessions are interactive and include engaging activities and ample time for discussion. At the end of every session youth have the opportunity to provide written, anonymous feedback to help shape and inform the program. Youth Hans Kai has been running in Winnipeg for approximately one year the feedback from the participants has been overwhelmingly positive. Youth are reporting increased awareness of health issues and are stating that their social support networks have increased. Youth engagement in the health schools has been high with many questions and lively discussions around each of the various topics. The adult Hans Kai program implemented by NorWest Co-op Community Health has shown statistically significant results in terms of increasing resiliency and recovery and it is our hope that this will be the case for the Youth Hans Kai program as well.

Poster First Author: 
Stephanie Ens
Additional Authors: 
Laura Horodecki
Conference Presented At: 
IAYMH 2015
Poster Date: 
October, 2015
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