10 Years On: Disaster-Hit Areas Tackling Isolation behind Mental Problems

Society Lifestyle

Sendai, Miyagi Pref., March 4 (Jiji Press)--Local governments and experts are tackling the issue of isolation, which lies behind mental problems afflicting people in northeastern Japan areas damaged by the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami.

Those who look well may not be. Attention needs to be paid to any sign of mental disorder to prevent the condition from worsening.

In the town of Minamisanriku, Miyagi Prefecture, the local social welfare council watches over disaster survivors living in permanent housing for displaced survivors with 14 assistance staff. A majority of the 708 households have one or more elderly members.

The staff visit the homes of residents regularly and give consultations at community meeting rooms. "The population is aging further, and many tend to have sudden changes in health conditions," said Fukumi Abe, a 58-year-old staff member.

Local public health official Naoko Sato, 49, says it is important to rebuild the relations of mutual aid among residents that existed before the disaster. As well as utilizing assistance workers like Abe, the town is asking disaster survivors themselves to watch over their neighbors.

[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]

Jiji Press