KKV, a comprehensive community health centre in Honolulu, offers daily instructions on how to repair bikes. The initiative - Kalihi Valley Instructional Bike Exchange - addresses young men, many of whom are immigrants, and aims to improve community mental health and social cohesion.
To strengthen their participants' confidence and sense of identity every session starts with an introduction round in which everyone needs to share their name, home and ancestors. “Anyone who can say these things with confidence has love for themselves — this is mental wellbeing”, explains Jeffrey Acido, an education and training specialist their motivation.
The programme is based on the belief that social connection and physical activity directly link to mental wellbeing.
Kalihi Valley is suffering from wide structural inequality leading to poverty, loss of cultural identity and low educational attainment. As a result, a lot of men and boys are at risk of depression, stress and chronic physical health conditions. The KVIBE is an innovative way to support this part of the community in the valley that is often left out of the conversation about mental health. To address them the organisation focuses on sports and recreation programmes and encourages its participants to become mentors for young men and boys to feel embedded in their community. Is this initiative preventing especially young men from feeling excluded? Could this be a remedy to prevent men and boys to enter a lifestyle on the edge of criminality?
By actively including men and boys in discussions about mental wellbeing and supporting them within the society, the KKV is leading on emerging ways to address community mental health.
Could this programme be a role model for other communities struggling with social inequality?