Perception of safety among the Japanese Individuals in the Washington, D.C. Area – Original Paper J. Shigemura, C. Fullerton, R. Ursano, L. Wang, R. Querci-Daniore, A. Yoshino, S. Nomura 180 – 186 Recent terrorist events and psychological consequences to the public have become an important health concern around the globe. Among those affected by terror, their sense of safety, or perceived safety, is a crucial issue related to mental health. Past studies have reported relationships between lower perceived safety and various mental health disorders among affected people. Our study examined perceived safety among 87 Japanese residents living in the greater Washington, D.C. area, a region with ongoing fear of terrorism after the 9/11 attacks. Perceived safety was low overall, and correlated negatively with extent of belief that terrorism will occur in their region in the future. Perceived safety was not associated with any demographic variable analyzed. Also included in the paper is a summary of a preceding study of perceived safety among disaster workers two weeks after September 11, 2001 attacks (Fullerton et al., 2006). These studies illustrate how perception of safety affects the public following terrorist events and threats of terror attacks. Future research is essential to improve understanding of relationships between perceived safety and mental/behavioral health consequences among various populations.
The role of mental health providers in crisis intervention: The case of September 11th in New York City – Short Paper A. Watanabe 187 – 190 As of 2007, six years will have passed since the attacks of September 11 in the US. This atrocity took away thousands of lives and left psychological imprints on many people around the world. In this short paper, I share my experience of September 11 as a clinical social worker in New York City. Until two years ago, I worked as a psychotherapist at an outpatient mental health clinic in Lower Manhattan. Most of my clients were Japanese speakers, but some spoke English during sessions either because they were native English speakers or because they prefer to relate to me in English. In the following, I will describe my work place, characterize the Japanese community in New York City, and then discuss September 11 and its lessons for crisis interventions in minority communities.
Subjective meaning of taking antipsychotic medication for patients with schizophrenia in Japan – Original Paper M. Noguchi 191 – 197 The patient’s adherence to the antipsychotic medication regimen is a critical issue in the treatment of schizophrenia, because non-adherence is one of the main causes of relapse. ‘Objective’ factors including lack of insight and uncomfortable adverse effects are reported to contribute to non-adherence. It is also important to explore the ‘subjective’ meaning of taking antipsychotic medication from the patient’s point of view, as medical anthropology has revealed the importance of subjective meaning of illness for the individual. In the current study, 11 schizophrenic and schizo-affective patients were interviewed to elicit the participants’ subjective opinions about their medicines. The narratives contained negative and positive aspects of taking medicine from the patient’s perspective. Antipsychotics are viewed as an unwelcome reminder of the stigmatized condition and as a threat to social life by potentially damaging the brain or creating drug dependency. On the other hand, patients recognized that antipsychotics effectively reduced uncomfortable symptoms, facilitated sound sleep, or stabilized the condition. Many patients do not take their medications; even the patients who accepted and adhered to the medication regimen expressed anxiety, worry, and reluctance to take medications. However, adherent patients tried to make sense of taking antipsychotics by covering negative meanings with positive ones. It is clinically important to explore subjective meaning of taking antipsychotic medication from the patient’s perspectives.
Project of strengthening integrated health care for the population affected by violence and human rights violation in the Republic of Peru – Short Paper S. Murauchi 204 – 211 In two decades since 1980, Peru suffered from the violent fight between the Armed Forces and the terrorist groups that caused 69,280 fatal victims and one million domestic refugees. This political violence mostly affected those populations with less social and economic resources in the mountainous areas of the Andes and the jungle. Moreover, there has been all kinds of violence such as family violence, sexual violence, and social violence too. This project has been progressing with the object of improving comprehensively the condition of people’s health in pilot sites severely affected not only by political violence, but also by non-political one, under international cooperation between Peru and Japan since 2005. The principal strategies of the project are “cascade training system” and multisectoral coordination.