Common to all of our activities is preventive awareness education on mental health. As the biggest learning method is "teaching", we have learned a lot. The “cultural competence” necessary for remote support can be gained through local experience. We will acquire this ability through interaction and cooperation with local residents, related organizations, and other organizations, and at the same time we will convey our knowledge and skills to the community. We expect that such accumulation of “learning” will lead to raising the level of community support.
1. "The power to feel the culture" necessary for support
When mental health professionals enter support from a remote location, an attitude that respects the cultural climate of the affected area is required. It is the ability to gather information to understand the life stress factors and medical systems specific to the support target area, and knowledge and empathy to sense the values, beliefs, religion, generational differences, etc. This is supported by the “culturalcompetence”.
This power is not limited to the culture of the affected area and the culture inherent in the recipient. It also gives us a “notice” to re-examine our own culture of support and our identity as a mental health specialist and make use of it in support activities.
On the other hand, through activities such as a visit to the bank, a salon, a mind visit, and an occupational workshop, other organizations and supporters working in the community understand the work of mental health professionals and learn knowledge and skills. I think I was able to make a chance.
Our particular focus has been on correcting prejudice against mental disorders. Prejudice has been reduced by accumulating time shared with life support counselors and increasing mutual trust, and I realize that mental health professionals have gained a better understanding of the work.
2. Collaborate and learn from support organizations in Japan and overseas
Collaboration with other organizations is indispensable for smooth and broad support activities in a small community. There are several support organizations in and around Otsuchi, but the long-term support organization consisting of multi-disciplinary mental health specialists is currently dedicated to the needs of other support organizations. We have built a mutual support relationship as long as possible. We also actively collaborate across prefectures and borders.