Fukushima Sou-Sou District Medical Project Report 6

East Japan Great Earthquake:Fukushima Sou-Sou project Report No.6

Today, I would like to report about a support activity in which Ms.Yuko Kato, a clinical psychotherapist, and I participated being introduced by “Mental Care Center NAGOMI for wide area of Soma”. The care center has been working together with “Namie-machi KAMOMEKKO in Minamisoma” which is organized by the Health Insurance Division of Namie-machi, a town.

Namie-machi, Futaba-gun, Fukushima prefecture includes; the areas where the designation of evacuation is prepared to be lifted (20 mSv or less/year); residence restricted areas (more than 20 mSv/year to 50 mSv or less/year) and; areas where repatriation is difficult (more than 50 mSv/year). Most of the residents who are experiencing the village-wide evacuation have taken refuge in temporary or publicly-rented dwellings in Nihonmatsu-city, Koriyama-city, Minamisoma-city, etc.

KAMOMEKKO club is an activity which provides a salon to the parents of infants who evacuated from Namie-machi and face a problem of isolation of the refugees from the damaged area in the community while taking refuge for such a long time. The salon was prepared for these parents and infants to have fun and play together, and communicate with the guardians and parents from the same community so that they can share their worries about child rearing.

The Namie-machi KAMOMEKKO club was first held in Minamisoma-city on September 21. On the day, 9 families (9 adults and 16 infants) joined the club activity.

All the parents and infants enjoyed moving their bodies energetically under the instruction of an instructor of 3B gymnastics. 3B gymnastics is a calisthenics that is performed in a group, using tools like balls, bells and belter to help their exercise. People move their bodies to the music during 3B gymnastics.

They also enjoyed crumpling a piece of newspaper into a ball, and others.

Looking at the chatting among the mothers, they seemed to deepen exchanges by sharing their worries about child rearing, talking about the possible activities held in the salon, how to release their stress,etc. with a delegated clinical psychotherapist, Ms. Kato.

Up to now, there have been some clubs for the parents and children who are former residents of Futaba-gun, a county, and living in the evacuation zones. This time, however, the salon was held only for the former residents of Namie-machi, a town, and their supporters, based on a strong request from the Health Insurance Division to hold a salon limited to the former residents of Namie-machi.

As was expected, each mother seemed to be relaxed and frank in talking with the former residents of Namie-machi, having unforced neighborhood communication there. We, supporters, tend to lump all the people from Futaba-gun, a county, together as the refugees from the nuclear accident, but we realized such thinking was quite wrong.

Worrying about a risk of radiation exposure, these children hardly have opportunities to play outside. Consequently, they seem to be inseparable from their mothers.

Mothers also have few opportunities to be active in the community where they do not have many acquaintances. For these mothers, the salon seemed to be a good place for sharing their common concerns and also, they were able to be free from their children for a while. Most of them requested us to continue this activity.

I would like to continue this support activity focusing on the mental care for these parents and children, by sharing the subjects with respect to the activities of “Namie-machi KAMOMEKKO in Minamisoma”.

Koichi Tamate
Coordinator, Fukushima Sou-Sou project

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