AJET Peer Support Group (PSG)
AJET has a helpline to support JET Program participants in Japan. It is a confidential and anonymous listening and referral service, available from 8:00 pm to 7:00 am every night of the year. To talk to a PSG member call 050-5534-5566 or voice call via Skype at AJETPSG.
For more information see the AJET website here.
Tokyo English Life Line Japan (TELL)
The TELL Lifeline offers free, anonymous telephone counseling and support across Japan from 9am to 11pm daily.
Telephone counselors are trained to respond to emergency crisis calls, as well as offering emotional support for everyday problems, relationship issues and stress, for all ages and cultural backgrounds. Call them on 03-5774-0992.
JET Participant Mental Health Counseling Assistance Program
The JET Support system underwent major changes starting the 2014 JET Program year. Here are some major JET participants should be aware of:
- Support systems formerly sponsored by CLAIR, like the JET Line and JET Mail, were closed and CLAIR itself no longer offers support or counseling directly to JET participants .
- Prefectural Advisors (in the Sendai City BOE that is the General and Educational Advisors and the CIRs) are no longer permitted to offer counselling, and must refer JETs seeking counseling related to mental health to a professional.
- A new Mental Health Counselling Assistance Program was introduced to help with the costs of professional counselling.
How to claim the Mental Health Counselling Assistance Subsidy
If a JET participant finds themselves in need of professional mental health counselling, CLAIR will pay up to 10,000 yen per JET participant per contract year for costs not covered by Japanese National Health Insurance. Based on the average cost of mental health services, this would cover about two sessions.
- The JET participant must first pay for the counseling out of pocket, being sure to save the original receipts from the counselling appointments.
- The JET participant next submits an application to apply for the Mental Health Counselling Assistance Subsidy. Along with the application, the original receipts from the counselling sessions and a copy of the inside front cover of the JET's bank book should be submitted to their Contracting Organization (in the case of Sendai ALTs, this is the Sendai BOE/Shidoka).
- The Contracting Organization submits the application to CLAIR. The application is reviewed and the JET participant is notified of the result.
- The subsidy is is paid directly in the the JET participant's bank account.
JET Participant Online Counselling Service
This service was started by CLAIR in June 2015 and its use is limited to current JET participants. The webmail and Skype based counselling service is accessible with a password which will be given to JET Participants by their Contracting Organization each year. Registration is necessary, but it is possible to use the service anonymously. Please read the Q&A here (2015-2016 Contract Year Version).
Counselling in English or Japanese:
Mental Health Care Professionals
Ichibancho Mental Health Clinic
022 221 2277
(Miyagi-ken Sendai-shi Aoba-ku Ichibancho 2-4-19
Sirius Building Ichibancho 3F)
7 minute walk from Sendai Station
Mon, Tues, Wed & Fri: 9:30am-12:30pm & 2:30pm-6:30pm
Thurs & Sat: 9:30am-12:30pm
Dr Saito has excellent English. He can prescribe medication (many foreign prescription drugs are not available). He will search for an effective substitute. Visited by several ALTs.
*An ALT Experience (Fall 2014): An ALT that attend Dr. Saito`s clinic reported that Dr. Saito, as he is ''specifically a psychiatrist, [he] will want to prescribe medication rather than engage in counselling. ''
Eric Des Marais approached the ALT Advisors after moving back to Tohoku in 2014 in the hopes of helping ALTs in need of English language counseling services. He is a trained counselor and also a native English speaker. Please read through his website to get an idea of his background and the type of counseling he can offer. Please note you cannot get prescriptions or medication though Tohoku English Counseling Services.
According to some ALTs who have utilized his services he is, "a counselor from America who specializes in CBT (cognitive behavioral therapy, an effective drug-free and permanent way of treating mental health issues). He has a warm and gentle manner and is very professional about his policies and treatment plans. "
〒982-0001 宮城県仙台市太白区八本松1-13-11 (Sendai City, Taihaku Ward, Hachihonmatsu)
The main counselor (Nakamura Tomomi) obtained her training and licence in Canada (and is a Canadian Certified Counselor). They offer counseling services for individuals in English and their offices are about a 15 minute walk from the Nagamachi subway stations. They're open from 10-6 by appointment (closed Sundays, Mondays, and holidays). Their price plans seem fairly reasonable as well.
International Mental Health Professionals Japan
The IMHPJ is a multidisciplinary professional association of therapists who provide mental health services to international communities in Japan. While they do not currently have any members in the Tohoku area, there are many in the Kanto region who provide counseling services by telephone, Skype and email. Check the website to see a list of members here .
There are native English speaking therapists including Nan Yamada and Jim McRae who work in conjunction with the JET programme on the Counseling System Committee. Both have vast experience in working with JET participants, ex-pats in Japan as well as Japanese returnees. There are costs involved for counseling sessions as it is a professional service.
Jim McRae can be contacted directly by phone, 042-636-5426 or email, firstname.lastname@example.org
Japan Healthcare Info
Their website can be found here: http://japanhealthinfo.com/ .
They are a group that can specifically search for an English speaking health care professional in your area. They list some English speaking doctors on their website, but you can also contact them directly at email@example.com to request that they do a search for you based on specific conditions that you set (i.e. what type of doctor you would like to see, how much you are willing to spend, etc). A basic search is free, but if you would like them to make an appointment for you or get in touch with specific institutions on your behalf it does cost some money.
Also see the Sendai International Relations Association (SIRA) list of clinics and hospitals with English-speaking staff:
SIRA (hospitals and clinics in Sendai):