Today's Coming Crisis Movie

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

New challenges: Will Japan face a mental health crisis following tsunami disaster?

The frightening disasters in Japan are mounting. Despite workers' Herculean efforts to prevent a complete meltdown at the country's earthquake-ravaged Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, the situation appears to be growing more serious.

In fact, each of the catastrophes that have struck Japan since last Friday--the earthquake, the tsunami and now the potential of nuclear calamity--would have been singularly perilous to the Japanese public's psychological well-being. Their collective impact on mental health is unimaginable.

And mental health is just as important as physical health. We know from years of research that poor mental health leads to physical health problems, diminished quality of life, work-related problems, social and family dysfunction, and even early death.

When the partial core meltdown happened at the Three Mile Island plant near Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, in March 1979, people in the surrounding communities were frightened and bewildered by the confusing and contradictory information being disseminated about what exactly was occurring at the reactor and whether their health was at risk. Moreover, the population nearby was advised to evacuate and evacuation discussions were also held as far away as Philadelphia. (read more)