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2011年4月11日 (月)


(Mainichi Japan) April 10, 2011
Kaleidoscope of the Heart: Don't be afraid to seek professional help
香山リカのココロの万華鏡:無理にがんばらない /東京

Whenever I speak at lectures, I remind my audience not to hesitate to seek professional assistance when they have problems.

At my consultation room, I sometimes see people who tried to endure suffering for a lengthy period of time before they finally decided to receive counseling. In one case, it took nearly two years for a patient with insomnia to seek professional help.

"I felt my problem was too small and I should not go to hospital. I was trying to face up to the situation on my own," one patient said.

Actually though, you don't have to push yourself too hard. Feel free to turn to a specialist for advice as soon as you notice something is wrong with you.

The same holds true for other problems, but a lot of people tend to avoid seeking professional help until the very last minute.

I often hear various institutions, such as a law firm specializing in debt problems and a consumer affairs center fighting against scams, say, "They should have come to talk to us much earlier."

It seems that a lot of people are feeling hesitant about sharing their problems with experts and believe that they must solve their problems on their own.

"Some clients said they were worried that we would blame them for their troubles. We would never do that," said a worker at a nonprofit organization that supports individuals with financial difficulties.

Experts and institutions specializing in fields such as welfare, medicine, law, etc. are there to help you when your problems got out of control. So, I have always asked my patients to stop blaming themselves and ask professionals for help.

I wonder if the victims of the recent earthquake and tsunami are reaching out for help.

It's been nearly one month since the disaster, and I wonder if residents in the region have recovered a little peace of mind and begun to seek support from specialized organizations as they struggle to restore their lives.

I'm afraid those in areas without essential utilities have no emotional leeway to consult with experts about their future.

Recently, an increasing number of professional workers, who have realized that merely waiting for clients to visit their office is not helping at all, are proactively meeting with people in need of help as part of their outreach efforts.

The demand for "delivery services" by medical and legal experts is expected to increase in areas affected by the disaster.

I would also like to visit evacuation shelters when I don't have appointments with regular patients.

At the same time, I hope more residents in areas hit by the disaster will tell us what kind of assistance they are looking for.

It goes without saying that those who were not affected by the earthquake should also be more open to contact professional advisors.

Now is the time to stop hesitating. (By Rika Kayama, psychiatrist)

毎日新聞 2011年4月5日 地方版


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