October: World Mental Health Month

By Kie Bhayangkari, 2021 October 13

October 10, 1992 was the first time the World Mental Health Day was observed in over 150+ countries. Now 29 years after that, mental health became more common and well-known topic in society. Especially after the Pandemic in 2020. Pandemic are the war between the virus and all human element, its attack everything and no one can escape from the impact of its. 

 

Before the pandemic, the stigma surrounding mental health in Japanese culture is still taboo. Japanese society has conditioned its members to believe that a mental health disorder is shameful and signifies a lack of willpower. I think after the Covid-19, many new perspective about mental health raised in Japan. One of my friend took 3 months leave in her company with the official statement of her psychiatrist. As her contract she still get 40%-60% of her monthly salary during her leave. Another friend of mine, he takes his paternity leave for 3 months and still get his 40% salary every month. For me who already living in japan for 6 years, knowing that Japan start to normalize the awareness of mental health and other family related matter (maternity or paternity leaves) really makes me think that with the pandemic, new layer of society born.

 

Right now, having mental and emotional support no matter where you live is important, and Japan's mental healthcare for English speakers plays a vital role in the international community. Here is several points I realized about how mental health grow in Japan society during the pandemic:

  • It's easier now to find English speaker counseling in Japan

Despite the increasing number of cases of depression and other mental health problems in Japan during this pandemic, obtaining mental and emotional health from psychologists and other professionals is still not a widespread practice in Japan. However, there are excellent clinics in Tokyo and major cities and online support is available in English and other languages. Now, it's very easy to google for a list of mental healthcare clinics in Japan. Or you can directly looking at IMHPJ (International mental Health Professional Japan) website for a list of clinics that provide counseling in English.

  • National health insurance still not cover mental health check up, but now Japan has sliding fee scale for the mental health professional check up

Compared with another medial expenses, mental healthcare is expensive. The average cost of a counseling session in English service is around 8,000 to 15,000 yen. Unfortunately, English support mental healthcare  check up mostly not covered by national health insurance. So you have to pay by yourself for each check up you want to do. However, thanks to the society awareness, many clinics starts to charge via a sliding fee scale that allows you to pay the amount you can afford depending on your income level and whether you work or not. Be sure to contact the facility you are interested in to discuss payment plans and options.

  • Recommended counseling in Japan

TELL is one of the most famous mental health care facilities in Japan. All TELL therapists and psychologists speak English and many can speak other languages. 

Tokyo Mental Health, located in Tokyo and Okinawa, very easy to reach and give a full service in English.

TIP stands for Tokyo International Psychotherapy, a Japanese-English bilingual clinic with offices in west part of Tokyo.

And many more.

  • Online mental health resource

Not only a physical clinic, , actually the mental healthcare clinic above provide phone counseling or Beside the physical clinic above, we could use a cross border mental healthcare service such a Betterhelp or Talkspace. Usually, the online service of counseling like this offer you cheaper cost and more flexible to use the service. They also provide chat counseling so you could talk with their professional anytime you feel you need to talk.

  • Japan wider its border for normalize the awareness of mental health

After all, although less common than in other countries, Japan has valuable psychological and mental healthcare support and treatment options. If you're thinking of getting help, don't hesitate and start your research, and courage, which will pay off in the end. Hope all the people not only in Japan but also all the people in the world stay healthy and sane, we are all deserve the happiness and peace in this pandemic situation. If you think you need help, please talk with anybody you can trust. Happy Mental Health Day!