May 2, 2012
Prior to 3.11, the town of Soma in Fukushima Prefecture did not have a mental health clinic or a hospital with a psychiatric unit. Patients would have to travel to Minami Soma to receive care. Since 3.11, large parts of Minami Soma fell into the 30km evacuation zone around the Daiichi nuclear power plant.
To remedy this urgent problem, earlier this year, the Fukushima Prefectural University Medical Center opened its first mental health clinic, called Nagomi, in Soma.
Through the Japan Earthquake Relief Fund, Japan Society supports the efforts of Dr. Shinichi Niwa, Fukushima Prefectural University Medical Center, to bring needed mental health services back to the region. Nagomi offers mental health services and respite care services for families caring for relatives with chronic mental health conditions or elderly family members.
With leadership from the Japanese Medical Society of America, the project represents a unique collaboration to collectively support a local effort in Fukushima to provide much needed mental health services. Supporting institutions include the Japanese Medical Society of America, Fukushima Prefectural University Medical Center, Columbia University, JAMSnet Tokyo, JAMSnet NY, Mount Sinai Global Health, Noveida, the Rotary Club and Japan Society.