All the people of Japan

As well as the Russians who did not want war

This war has already claimed many victims, and created a climate of great anxiety mixed with anger and deep sorrow.
Together with the people of Ukraine, many people all around the world are affected by these events.
They can only remind us that we are still waiting and hoping for peace in Syria, Afghanistan, Ethiopia and the Sahel region — places that are still suffering from conflict and terrorism.
This threatening situation can cause deep damage to the mental health of those involved.
Médecins du Monde teams in the field are developing a psychological support program.

This war and its vast repercussions affect many people in various ways. You may feel overwhelmed by this situation and the complexity of which makes it difficult to understand. Hoping to feel useful in any small way, I have tried to sum up the idea of mental care. (Based on the concept of trauma- informed care)

Suimei Morikawa, psychiatrist

The 4 Rs

Realize ≪Acknowledge when something goes wrong≫

First, everyone must know that this war will cause some kind of mental, physical and behavioral upheaval.
It may affect people differently. It may result in frustration, sleeplessness, headaches and dizziness. Some people may blame themselves. If you feel that way, don’t blame yourself.

Recognize ≪Know what kind of impact it might have≫

These events may cause sleeplessness, nightmares, anxiety, restlessness, lack of motivation, fear of even small noises, anger and feeling overwhelmed by emotions.
It may cause headaches, nausea, hives and asthma to worsen.
Some people may want to withdraw socially and skip school. Others may have difficulty concentrating or lose their temper.
Some people can hurt themselves or attack others. Some may be led to alcohol and drug abuse.

Respond ≪Do not Blame≫

Don’t blame yourself or get angry with people around you.
If your friends, children or co-workers show these symptoms, do not get angry and listen carefully.
Try to create some fun time together.
Teachers, police officers and doctors are encouraged to be particularly attentive.
Alcohol and drugs can give short-term relief, but they are not a cure and add to the pain, so be aware.

Resist, re-traumatization ≪Be careful not to deepen the wounds of trauma≫

It is essential to protect and take good care of yourself.
There is a lot of misinformation and some media articles and programs are sensationalized made to provoke anxiety. It is good to keep informed, but do so in a conscious and reasonable way. Taking a step back when mental health is fragile is a good idea.
When someone close to you suffers, it is wise to adapt your behavior and take care not to aggravate the situation. The best thing is to create quality time.

To ease the pain a little, try these things:

Remember to keep regular hours
Take a walk of at least 20 minutes a day
Sleep well
Eat well
Avoid alcohol and substance abuse to change your mood
Remember to breathe deeply
Try walking in nature
Make time to unwind; take a bath
Create a good atmosphere; use good scents
Get a massage or try self-massage

*There are many ways to ease your mind, so please try to find one that works for you.

What people can do to support those who are suffering

Help as soon as possible
Be patient until they get over it
Respond as much as possible to specific needs
Do not blame them or exclude them for being emotional
Listen to their pain
Do not force people to talk
Do not interpret, analyze or diagnose
Do not lie to make people feel good
Respect person’s wishes and help them make their own choices
Try to be fair in your interactions
Avoid drawing arbitrary conclusions
Quality time is very important for friends and family members who are suffering
Understand and respect cultural, historical and gender issues

Requests to institutions and family members

With the understanding of the emotional scars, it is vital to find safe, good quality time and take action in all levels of society such as: at school, at work, in the community as well as in law enforcement and government.

This idea is based on “trauma-informed care”.
For those who want to know more details, the following link of Osaka Kyoiku University will be very helpful.
Child’s mental care (trauma-informed care)
*Japanese only

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