As hanami season comes to a close, many of us are preparing for the new work or school year. While some welcomed March’s spring weather joyfully, March can also be the most depressing or mentally debilitating time for a person or family in Japan. Sadly, 21,140 people lost their lives to suicide in Japan during the 2017-2018 year. And though Japan is seeing an annual decrease in suicide rates, March and April have the highest counts of suicides each year. Despite these statistics primarily relate to Japanese persons, access to mental health counseling is crucial for our international communities as well.
Our International Community’s Support Center
In a country where Japan has the world’s second highest suicide rate coupled with its lack of addressing mental illness, TELL Japan, has courageously taken the helm to combat the stigma of mental illness and to provide mental health counseling. Established in 1973, they were the first English-language lifeline, becoming one of the most well known organizations in Japan’s international community. 20 years later in the 1990s, they created a counseling center and in recent years have been conducting effective community outreach programs.
As some of our FEW members may know, TELL Japan is not just a telephone hotline. Their mission to promote positive mental health extends to face-to-face counseling and building awareness about the less discussed mental health issues. FEW Japan has had an impactful partnership with TELL in the past by introducing members to TELL as volunteers or as a resource for counselling.
TELL’s Own Call for Support
TELL Japan is one of the longest running foreign organizations and with the international community growing more each year, the request for TELL’s counselling services are in high demand, essentially outstripping resources. TELL is making a call to the international community it has served for 45 years to continue counseling friends, loved ones, co-workers, or anyone who has been personally affected by a mental illness of any kind. Even micro-donations of 300 yen can help them address the growing need for counseling.
TELL is relieved to see there are more foreign residents coming to terms with their mental illness and are receiving counseling for it. The organization has immense gratitude for their volunteers who help connect people to TELL’s services through awareness and to the volunteers who answer each call that comes in. Even getting out into the Tokyo and Kansai areas through comedy shows, marches, and self-care events to raise awareness and prevent suicide is one of their proud moments. They are more than happy to volunteer at existing events or partner with others to build awareness throughout the community.
What You Can do to Support TELL
There are a ton of great things you can do to show your support or donate to TELL. This April there is a very diverse lineup of events in the Tokyo area:
April 4th: Pub Quiz
April 20th: Academic Talk on Mental Health diagnosis
April 25th: Workshop About Parenting With Mindfulness
May 19th: Band Night at What The Dickens in Ebisu
If you know anyone in the Kansai area, please share with them TELL’s information! Kansai events and webchat services are also available.
Also, If you are someone who would like to help TELL through donations of time or money, or by spreading the word about their services, please visit http://telljp.com/help/ or ask for Selena Hoy, a fellow FEW member, at one of our monthly meetings.
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