Seeds of Joy

March 6, 2014

By Jake New


Three years ago, the Sendai area of Japan was destroyed by an earthquake and tsunami. Two dozen teenagers from a local high school were sent to Hawaii to recover from the trauma. The host families that greeted them were equipped with something  far more than just the usual open-armed hospitality: extensive training and education about post traumatic stress disorder. [...]

The girls also learned about PTSD themselves when I-Lion began working with Project Kealahou, a Hawaii State Department of Health program that works with teenage girls experiencing trauma. Through events and activities such as hiking and art projects, the program provided the girls with what the division called psycho-education. Not specifically addressing issues apparent in any single girl, the project was more about teaching them what PTSD is and what the triggers are.

Emi Koga, Practice Development Specialist with Project Kealahou, said she grew up in Japan and understands the cultural differences the families and staff were dealing with.

“I know that psychology and mental health aren’t really talked about in Japan,” Koga said. “So the psycho-education piece might have been the first time for a lot of them to hear about it.” [...]

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