Surf therapy has been successfully utilised with vulnerable populations worldwide. This study was the first to examine the effects of a surf therapy programme on primarily justice-involved young people and the first study to investigate surf therapy outcomes within New Zealand. The year-long study showed that 25 out of 27 participants demonstrated statistically significant improvement in their psychological and social functioning. In addition, the study showed that participants reported a reduction in suicidal ideation and drug and alcohol use after attending the programme. Lastly, the study also showed that the Tai Wātea programme has a lower non-completion percentage (20%) than other community-based programmes for offenders (40%). These findings indicate that the Tai Wātea surf therapy programme is a highly promising and valuable therapeutic avenue for improving the psychosocial functioning of high-risk young males residing in New Zealand.
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