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Struggling with the Fourth Disaster in East Japan
Journal Title: FORUM 
Author/s: Hidefumi Kotani 
Year:  2013 Issue: Language: English 
Pages:  21 Pg. 79-99 FullText PDF:  1721 KB
DOI:  10.3280/FORU2013-006009
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Co authors of the article: Tomoaki Adachi, Masahiro Nishikawa, Yuki Nakamura, Kayoko, Hige, Kazunori Hashimoto, Kazuki Nishiura, Maya Hashimoto, Toshinori Hanani, Yoshiya Ishikawa, Haruna Sasaki, Kai Ogimoto

The triple disasters of earthquake, tsunami and nuclear plant accidents that occurred in East Japan in March 2011 brought victims many complicated and unseen problems to resolve. Victims were very supportive of one another and appeared to calm down astonishingly quickly within a few months after these events. As a result of such an apparently smooth and rapid return to relative tranquillity, governmental concern did not turn to the problem of mental health impairment. No systematic action for prevention and treatment of Post-traumatic Stress Disorder has been undertaken. On the other hand, event-related deaths, illnesses, traffic accidents, and various destructive problems seem to be occurring with increasing frequency in communities located in the stricken area. Victims do not take advantage of what mental health support is available, preferring to maintain their silence regarding their disaster experiences even when mental health care teams visit them directly. Mental health services for victims of the triple disasters have now become quite hopeless and helpless since traditional psychiatric treatment approaches have not worked well. A practical study aimed at opening a gateway to clinical treatment for victims of the triple disaster is introduced in this paper. This sense of helplessness is conceptualized and analysed as a fourth disaster involving hidden social and cultural dynamics. New pre-therapy and support group therapy systems combined with community building approaches to encourage victims to seek necessary treatment are reported.

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Hidefumi Kotani, in "FORUM" 6/2013, pp. 79-99, DOI:10.3280/FORU2013-006009

   

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