March 15, 2011
The Japanese Society of Psychiatry and Neurology would like to take this opportunity to express its condolences for the unimaginable losses endured by all those affected by the Great East Japan Earthquake and Tsunami.
We are certain that people are struggling to deal with all the thoughts and feelings resulting from this disaster, at the same time as they work to cope with its impact. For its part, the Japanese Society of Psychiatry and Neurology will do everything in its power to support all persons affected by this tragedy.
Given the harsh conditions faced by survivors, there are doubtless persons who will feel overwhelmed by their emotions, and that their hearts will break under the strain. However, we have no doubt that, with time, it is possible to persevere and pull through this difficult period.
After a disaster, people often talk about “psychological care.” This is not related in any way to treatment for an illness. Rather, it refers to the act of organizing comprehensive support for both physical and daily life needs, while keeping an eye on people’s steps toward recovery. We know very well that extraordinary people in the areas affected are supporting and caring for both themselves and others around them. We will strive to work with local authorities and other organizations involved to provide easily accessible counseling and psychological care, and will do this in a way that does not hinder survivors’ journey toward recovery.
In challenging times, it is common to increase one’s intake of things like alcohol, tobacco, and caffeine (coffee, tea, green tea, etc.), but it is important to be aware that these substances can also trigger anxiety and insomnia. People may experience difficultly in recognizing how tired they are, or expressing how they truly feel; they may also feel frustrated or suddenly agitated. It has been established that these symptoms naturally improve on their own, in most cases. But if they persist for several days, or if they are troubling, we urge people to consult a health care professional.
We also believe that special attention must be paid to the needs of those persons who, while enduring their own personal losses, are participating in relief and recovery efforts.
Finally, in circumstances such as these, we often see the spread of gossip and unfounded rumors, which can end up causing even greater anxiety for people already struggling to deal with the impact of a disaster. We call on all health care workers participating in relief efforts to confirm the source and reliability of information they may disseminate.
The Japanese Society of Psychiatry and Neurology