Kishorit employs a holistic model that views emotional health, mental health and physical health as inextricably linked. In contradistinction to the bio-medical and psychiatric models - which consider the brain’s bio-chemistry to be the primary contributing factor to a person’s mental health and which focus largely on pharmaceutical interventions – Kishorit believes that each part of a person influences the rest of the person. The environment, activities, inter-personal relationships, habits and one’s emotional state are intertwined and interdependent. Therefore, Kishorit’s therapeutic approach combines medications with proper nutrition, physical exercise, and emotional balance.
Many of Kishorit’s members receive regular psychiatric medications and are under the close care and supervision of a psychiatrist. They are supported by a therapeutic staff that shares information and consults with the doctor regarding all of the contributing factors that might impact the medical and pharmacological solution.
Much research suggests that extended use of psychiatric medication has a long-term negative influence and takes a heavy toll in terms of negative side effects. The treatment staff at Kishorit recognizes that these medications are necessary as long as alternative therapies aren’t sufficient. There are some situations in which medications are absolutely necessary and helpful. However, Kishorit’s tendency is to prescribe the lowest possible dose and to evaluate a wide range of alternative therapies and activities that permit reduced reliance on medication.
Many Kishorit members are overweight. This is a problem faced by the general population, but it is especially evident among adults with functional challenges, including low physical activity, little personal discipline, and the side effects of medication. Many Kishorit members suffer from chronic health problems such as diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, liver problems and asthma, which require constant monitoring throughout life. Therefore, a nutritious diet and clean environment are critical to promoting physical health and minimizing the influence of toxins.
Special emphasis is placed on providing the members with healthy food in the dining room. The kitchen receives vegetables from the organic garden, organic eggs from the free-range egg farm, milk and dairy products from the goat dairy and cheese factory, and whole grain bread and baked goods from our bakery. The kitchen does not use processed foods, soup powders or food coloring. The members receive dietary counseling from a professional dietician and there is a weight watchers group in the community.
The staff encourages the members to exercise, to use the weight room, to work out with the personal trainer on staff, to play sports and to take advantage of all of the physical activities offered in the kibbutz.
The village population is characterized by low levels of motivation, attention deficits and an inability to stay committed to long-term projects. Therefore, two foundational principles utilized are taken for raising the members’ motivation levels: every staff member takes an active role in the members’ program, and the staff is actively involved in implementing this program and serves as personal examples, role models and cheerleaders for the members.
The main sport facility, which hosts the pool and the fitness center is well equipped with new, professional equipment, the interior design of the space is very 'welcoming', and most importantly, the staff affords personal attention to each individual member. A personally tailored training program is being designed for each member with a monthly goal and BMI monitoring kept on file at the fitness center.
Lifestyle and Living Environment
The lifestyle and environment in Kishorit are intended to support the members’ physical and mental health. Great attention is paid to aesthetics, both in terms of the public buildings and private apartments, as well as the external gardens and grounds. The residential quarters are designed to look like typical kibbutz homes and are painted calming, pastel colors. Nature is felt at every turn. Everything is green, blooming and beautifully manicured. There are large green areas throughout the kibbutz and an atmosphere of calm infuses the entire community. We know that the setting has a welcome influence on the health of the members and staff.
Kishorit strives to become an ecologically sustainable community. As such, we limit the use of pesticides and use our own compost to fertilize the flower and vegetable gardens. We use environmentally friendly cleaning products and are working towards treating our waste water for agricultural reuse.