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Reading: Ongoing Mental Health Concerns in Post-3/11 Japan

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Original Research

Ongoing Mental Health Concerns in Post-3/11 Japan

Authors:

Adam Karz ,

Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, New York, NY
About Adam
MD, MS
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Jonathan Reichstein,

Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, New York, NY
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Robert Yanagisawa,

Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, New York, NY
About Robert
MD
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Craig L. Katz

Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, New York, NY
About Craig L.
MD
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Abstract

Background

The triple disaster that struck the Tohoku region on March 11, 2011, has had massive psychiatric, social, and physical effects on the people of Japan. A staggering loss of life and property, as well as an ongoing nuclear disaster, has dramatically affected the ability of the country to recover.

Objective

In an effort to better understand the current social, health, and mental health needs of the region affected by the disaster and to share lessons from 9/11, a group of 9/11 survivors and doctors from the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai traveled to sites throughout the Fukushima, Miyagi, and Iwate prefectures.

Methods

A qualitative analysis was performed on transcripts of the cultural and medical exchanges, which occurred on this trip to identify relevant themes about the problems confronting the recovery effort almost 3 years after the disaster.

Findings

Significant themes that emerged included a crippling radiation anxiety, a considerable stigma toward addressing mental health care, and a shortage of mental health care throughout the region, as well as ongoing psychiatric symptoms such as insomnia, anxiety, and alcohol misuse.

Conclusions

These issues continue to complicate the recovery effort but suggest avenues for future interventions.

How to Cite: Karz, A., Reichstein, J., Yanagisawa, R. and Katz, C.L., 2014. Ongoing Mental Health Concerns in Post-3/11 Japan. Annals of Global Health, 80(2), pp.108–114. DOI: http://doi.org/10.1016/j.aogh.2014.04.005
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Published on 26 Jun 2014.
Peer Reviewed

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