We live in Fukushima. We are raising our children in Fukushima.
We, too, experienced March 11, 2011 in Fukushima.
We established this research center in order to do what we can for Fukushima, to do what we must as psychologists of this prefecture.
Mental health care is an important key concept for disaster areas affected by an earthquake and nuclear disaster. It refers to the mental healing of people injured by the disaster. The importance of mental health care in disaster areas has been consistently discussed at various disaster sites throughout the world. This is just as important for the Tohoku region affected by the Great East Japan Earthquake and subsequent nuclear disaster.
However, there is one major problem with mental health care following disasters. Not much is known about what kinds of psychological problems will occur in people who have experienced a nuclear disaster and what kind of care will be effective. For example, the people of Fukushima are living amidst great anxiety and stress. We do not know what kinds of psychological problems will occur if this situation continues over a long period. As we do not know how a nuclear disaster affects people’s mental health, it follows that we also do not know what type of psychological care is effective.
Presently, many types of mental health care measures are being carried out in the wake of the nuclear disaster in Fukushima. However, we do not know whether or not these measures are truly effective for resolving and preventing psychological problems caused by the nuclear disaster.
We believe it is important to first clarify what kind of psychological problems are caused by nuclear disasters. Therefore, we are continuing studies targeting children and guardians of Fukushima that began immediately after the earthquake. Based on the results of those studies, we will then elucidate the mechanisms by which nuclear disasters produce psychological effects. If we can elucidate these mechanisms, we hope to be able to develop effective measures and methods to halt and minimize the psychological effects.
Immediately following the Great East Japan Earthquake, we formed a research group of psychologists at Fukushima University called the Children’s Mental Stress Assessment Team and have been at work since. On April 1, 2014, the team was expanded and newly established as the Fukushima University Center for Psychological Studies of Disaster.
As prefectural citizens living in Fukushima and raising children in Fukushima, we would like to work with everyone for the sake of our prefecture. We humbly request your understanding and support of our research activities into the future.
Professor, Symbiotic Systems Science
Director, Center for Psychological Studies of Disaster