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Friday, March 30, 2012

Mental Health Advice From A Professional

Ask and you shall receive.

Help, that is.

On March 26, 2012, I wrote about mental health issues in Japan, postulating that there would be a heavy burden on mental health providers there dealing with the aftermath of the March 11, 2011 disasters.

You can catch up HERE.

At the end of it, I coyly asked:

"If anyone out there has any data on mental health in Japan or even more specifically on Japan after the March 11 disasters, please pass it along.

While numbers are fine, I am more interested in knowing just what it is that Japan is doing for those who suffer in quiet agony."

Well... someone did. Andrew Grimes of Tokyo Counseling Services wrote in with some thoughts on the subject. He originally sent it in as a letter of comment - and the damn thing got caught up as spam in the blog's spam filter.

Anyhow... I don't know how many of you read the comments' section, but I thought his information bore repeating in a larger forum - a blog of his own.

I have added a few bracketed explanations of acronyms, and amended the presentation of links to articles he provided, but I have not changed anything else, except to place his letter in italics. Oh... I did fix a couple of typos, though... it's always easier to edit someone else than yourself. 

Get informed:

Hope these few links, which are by no means a comprehensive representation of the psychosocial support and Japan mental health professional associations responses and mental health care programs and services put into effect in post 3.11 year 1, will be of some use to your readers. Thanks for caring about the mental health of the Japan 3D disasters survivors, displaced and evacuees. The year 2 and longer term work we so and the services we provide will need all the social, economic and media focus on suitable and culturally sensitive support for these wounded communities as well as individual and group mental health care for those individuals and families who have suffered the most and endured extreme stress and setbacks as they try to move on with their lives. Thank you for helping to keep the spotlights of these hundreds of thousands of people for whom the effects and stresses of the 3D disasters is unfortunately far from over.

In the past year, from the outset to now, a great number of the over 100,000 Japan licensed mental health care professionals (such as over 14,000 psychiatrists, over 52,000 Psychiatric Social Workers and over 21,000 JSCCP Clinical Psychologists and Nurses, among others, have been deeply involved working and providing psycho-social first aid, medical and counseling support to survivors and evacuees both in the East Japan (Tohoku) Region and here in Tokyo and the Kanto Region. Perhaps you would kindly consider giving them due credit in your press releases on the internet. For examples:

From the April 22, 2011
Japan Times: Giving voice to trauma-hit victims: TRAUMA

NHK World on October 27, 2011: Mental health center for children in disaster zone: CHILDREN

And from Tokyo Counseling's website, posted on October 10, 2011: Association of Japanese Clinical Psychology - International Symposium on Trauma Recovery and PTSD (Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder) Prevention - Tokyo University: PTSD

I would also like to suggest, with respect, that consideration could be given to making clear that in Japan on your website and all your NGOs (non-government organizations) and volunteers that in Japan only a Ministry of Health, Welfare and Labour nationally licensed medical doctor/psychiatrist is allowed to assess the presence of symptoms of PTSD, diagnose and provide therapy and treat PTSD and it takes a trained, credentialed, supervised and experienced mental health professional in Japan to recognize symptoms of trauma and PTSD. If someone is diagnosed with PTSD then the medical treatment and prescription of medications to alleviate and treat PTSD can only be given by a psychiatrist or medical doctor. For an ordinary member of the public to do so is illegal in Japan. Thank you in advance for your kind consideration of these points.

Also your readers here may be interested to read the following article from the New Scientist that details the approach of mental health professionals in Japan to aid and assist the disasters survivors and evacuees psychological recovery from their traumatic experiences:

To avoid PTSD, no debrief for Japan's quake survivors: read this article from November 1, 2011

Kind regards from Tokyo,

Tokyo Counseling Services

And there you have it. I visited Andrew's Tokyo Counseling Services company website and took the following from there:

Tokyo Counseling Services mental health counseling professionals are qualified JSCCP Clinical Psychologists licensed to practice in Japan. Every Psychotherapist at TCS holds the Japanese Certificate for Psychotherapy and is qualified and legitimately registered as a Psychotherapist by The Japan Federation for Psychotherapy. Our counselors provide individual counseling, couples counseling, marriage counseling and family counseling. group therapy and psychotherapy services. Counseling and therapy services are available in English, French, German, Korean, Japanese and Portuguese for all residents living in the Tokyo Metropolis and Kanto region. Telephone Tokyo 5431-3096.

Thank you very much for kind and informative response, Andrew. Your comments and thoughts are always welcome here - spam filter notwithstanding.

Good mental health to all.
Andrew Joseph
The top photo shows a woman in the destroyed city of Natori, Japan after March 11, 2011.

I also found this radio report on The World Today website: HERE


  1. Thank you too Andrew for your kindness and support for mental health care in Japan.

    Kind regards from Tokyo

    1. No problem! You guys were the ones who supplied all the data!

      You are more than welcome to offer up items to us here any time!