It can be increasingly difficult to deal with what is currently going on around us due to the ongoing crisis of the coronavirus. With the government asking individuals to stay at home, public entertainment venues closing their doors, supermarkets running low on stock and many countries shutting off their borders (leading loads of us with no possibility of heading back out to loved ones), the risk of effects on our mental health has greatly increased.
The temptation to go out and socialise is strong, however, the majority of us are keeping up with the suggestions of social-distancing from the government in order to slow down and stop the spread of the virus.
It is in times like these, when loved ones are not so easily accessible, that free counseling through helplines, online chats, and forums and video calls are a blessing. If you are currently residing in Japan (or are stuck here waiting for a rescue flight to your home country), and are feeling like the current events of the world are taking a toll on your mental well-being, we recommend that you check in with one of the following free counseling services available.
The company has a long history of working with individuals since it began serving the Japanese international community in 1973, and ensures that all conversations through the phone and online are fully anonymous and confidential.
Helpline: 03 5774 0992
Availability: 9 a.m. - 11 p.m. daily
*Check out the Tell Japan website for the latest updates on the online chat hours availability, which have been adjusted slightly due to the coronavirus.
*Please note that although the chat service is free, charges for the call will apply and will differ depending on your phone provider. To get the cheapest rate, Tell Japan recommends calling through an internet call service such as Skype Phone.
7 Cups is an international on-demand emotional health service and online therapy provider.
The organization provides anonymous connections to trained, caring and compassionate listeners through an online one-on-one chat.
People can also join the organization’s specific chat room groups for free to get advice and support from those who fully understand. In addition to the online chat rooms and one-on-one anonymous conversations, 7 Cups also offers confidential online therapy and counseling from licensed therapists for a monthly fee of $150 (approximately 16,250 yen). 7 Cups is easy to reach through its website or the iOS or Android applications.
Through Your Company
It may not have occurred to you but the company you work for may have their own free counseling and therapy services as part of their EAP (employee assistance program) offerings. Whether these services are available in English is a matter for you to find out, but by all means, check with your company to see if there are any services available that you can make use of.
The JET Program is one such company that provides confidential and anonymous counseling for their employees. Available from 8 p.m. to 7 a.m. year-round through the AJET Peer Support Group, the service can be accessed via Skype (username: AJETPSG) or by phone call on 050-5534-5566.
There are also numerous online counseling services available for a fee, but before you make a decision to go ahead with a company we recommend that you do your research and perhaps try out a free option before committing to paying for therapy.
In addition to these helpful organizations, it is best to make sure that you also know Japan’s emergency numbers. They are the police on 110 and the fire and ambulance services on 119.
No online therapy or counseling system can fully replace the support of family and/or loved ones, so we also recommend that you check in with them as often as you can. Remember, we will get through this together.
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