Importance of Psychological Support for Disaster-Affected Adolescents: 10 Years After the Great East Japan Earthquake
Junko Okuyama*1,*2,, Shunichi Funakoshi*3, Shuji Seto*2,*4, Yu Fukuda*5, Kiyoshi Ito*2,*4, Fumihiko Imamura*2,*4, and Shin-Ichi Izumi*1
*1Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Graduate School of Medicine, Tohoku University
2-1 Seiryo-machi, Aoba-ku, Sendai, Miyagi 980-8575, Japan
*2Core Research Cluster of Disaster Science, Tohoku University, Miyagi, Japan
*3Miyagi Psychiatric Center, Miyagi, Japan
*4International Cooperation for Disaster Medicine, International Research Institute of Disaster Science (IRIDeS), Tohoku University, Miyagi, Japan
*5Faculty of Literature, Notre Dame Seishin University, Okayama, Japan
Introduction: Adolescents affected by disasters need mental health support because they tend to be at risk of developing psychiatric disorders and stress as grown-ups. However, it is difficult to develop and validate a support system for adolescents affected by disasters because it is unknown when and where disasters occur, and there is inadequate data related to this in Japan. Methods: To address these issues, we present a mental health support system for high school students affected by the Great East Japan Earthquake. We hypothesized that mental health support could be provided by classroom teachers and school nurses, who are familiar with high school students. We investigated the psychological state of the affected high school students for three years after the earthquake, and the students in psychological crises received interventions from their class teachers and school nurses. Results: The intervention resulted in improvements in depression and post-traumatic stress reaction (PTSR). Conclusion: These results suggest that our high school-based intervention is a feasible solution for mental health support for adolescents affected by the disaster.
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