Establishment of Training System to Cope with Mental Health and Social Issues in Disaster Recovery Public Housing After the Great East Japan Earthquake
*Tohoku Medical Megabank Organization, Tohoku University
2-1 Seiryo-machi, Aoba-ku, Sendai, Miyagi 980-8573, Japan
**Sendai City Mental Health and Welfare Center
This study aimed to establish a training system for non-mental health professionals to cope with the mental health and social issues of impacted residents in disaster recovery public housing after more than 10 years since the Great East Japan Earthquake (GEJE). In September 2021, a group interview was conducted with seven life support advisors (LSAs) in charge of providing continuous support for impacted residents. These advisors possess a good understanding of the situation of impacted residents in disaster recovery public housing. Isolation emerged as an apparent issue, especially during the COVID-19 outbreak in which interactions among residents were reduced. Then, a training program for coping with isolation, as well as other issues identified through the interviews, such as delusions, troublesome behaviors, alcohol-related issues, wandering, suicidal ideation, and social withdrawal, was developed. For infection prevention and ease of obtaining training opportunities, this program was distributed online. Eleven participants were trained to use the developed program and were subsequently asked to complete an anonymous questionnaire. Results showed a considerable increase in the participants’ comprehension in addressing the impacted residents’ mental health issues. Although further investigation is warranted given that the representativeness and validity of our findings are somewhat limited, this study revealed the current situation of impacted residents in disaster recovery public housing following the GEJE. It also established a mental health training system for non-mental health professionals that addresses the identified issues. The developed training system for advisors would contribute to preparedness and risk reduction for future disasters.
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