PTSD Child Care

Post‐Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is a severe anxiety disorder that can develop after exposure to any event that results in psychological trauma. While many adults are also affected by this, children who have experienced a big earthquake are very likely to struggle with this. Common symptoms include: Re-experiencing, Avoidance, and Hyperarousal.

You can find various information about PTSD online, so I'll focus on how you can help your children here.

Make children feel secure and relieved
- do not leave them alone
- eat and play together
- hug them and hold their hands
- tell them that it is normal to feel sadness, anger, anxiety
- to those who blame themselves, tell them "it is not your fault"
- say "I'll protect you" and "We are safe/okay" instead of "Do your best" or "Be patient"
- talk about pleasant memories
- do not scold them even if they behave badly

Discuss what they are confused about
- ask what they are actually anxious about, with what they are struggling
- do not generalize or dodge the problem
- answer confidently, even if they repeat the same question over and over

Accept their feelings calmly and sincerely
- when they talk, get down to the same height as them, look them in the eyes, make brief responses while listening, and never interrupt them
- do not force them to talk if they don't want to

Provide opportunities for them to play and act
- at their own pace, let them communicate with friends through sports or play
- let them express freely by drawing, singing, and writing
- the feeling of helping others makes them feel good, so let them help you with easy things

If adults show their anxiety, children's symptoms may get worse or cause them to try to hide their anxiety and stress. In cases of disasters like this, however, it is often impossible for adults to be totally calm; adult anxiety is also normal.

So, please do not push yourself too hard. Please ask for help; often others will be helped by helping you. Talk to other adults, counselors, friends, or other parents in the same shelter or area. Incorporate and take turns with them in caring for the children.

The most important thing is to listen to children sincerely, and have fun with them. Talk about your favorite movie, food, memory, and smile together.

Even during the hardest times, do not forget to smile, to have hope, and to appreciate that you are alive.


  1. Hello Yumi

    I found your blog through Google and would like to share information with our members of the CHART (Communities Healing through Art) JAPAN Arts Therapies Initiative Group on Facebook. Please look us up on FB and we will sign you up - and your blog followers also :
    http://www.facebook.com/home.php?sk=group_210925458921247 .

    CHART (www.chartaid.org) is a nonprofit specializing in uses of arts therapies in disaster relief. Thank you for this helpful information !

    Baxter Garcia, CHART Director

  2. Really well done for the blog.these are so sweet and pretty!

    Child Care Centre

  3. It is important to note that in Japan only a Ministry of Health, Welfare and Labour nationally licensed doctor/psychiatrist is allowed to diagnose and medically treat PTSD. If someone is diagnosed with PTSD then the medical treatment and prescription of medications to alleviate and treat PTSD can only be given by a psychiatrist or medical doctor.

    Some useful telephone numbers and links for residents of Tokyo and Japan who speak Japanese and/or English and are feeling depressed or suicidal and need to get in touch with a mental health professional qualified in Japan:

    Useful telephone numbers for Japanese residents of Japan who speak Japanese and are feeling depressed or suicidal: Inochi no Denwa (Lifeline Telephone Service):

    Inochi no Denwa (Lifeline Telephone Service):
    Japan: 0120-738-556
    Tokyo: 3264 4343

    If you believe that someone may be about to attempt suicide you should call the Japanese police:

    Emergency contact numbers:
    Both the police and fire/medical assistance are available 24 hours a day.
    110 is the number to the Police Headquarter Command Post, and 119 is to the Fire Department Command and Control Center. They will take your call, and arrange a police car, fire engine, or ambulance in case of emergency.
    You can dial 110 and 119 for free. Even from a public phone, you do not need a phone card or money. Hope this may be of some help to you.

    AMDA International Medical Information Center:

    With Kind Regards
    Andrew Grimes

    Tokyo Counselling Services

  4. You readers may also be interested to hear the six month assessment of President Konoe of the Japanese Red Cross Society in his "Six Months on from the Great East Japan Earthquake" as he reports on the triple disasters of the earthquake, .tsunami and the meltdown and radiation released from 3 of the 6 nuclear plants at the Fukushima Daiichi facility built on the coast:

    International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies Youtube Channel:

    As he says, "we are only just at the beginning of it" here in Japan. Keep the support coming please.

    Your readers may also like to see some other positive and realistic reports on the need for psychosocial support for the millions of survivors of these triple disasters, many of whom may well in time, require the legal assessment, diagnosis and treatment of PTSD, depression and other mental disorders Japan's 100,000 + licensed mental health care professionals in Japan:

    Mental Psychological Care Japan Tsunami Earthquakehttp://bit.ly/n2DqfN via @addthis Nick Jones' article in International Red Cross Magazine

    Mending Minds by Nick Jones (in English)

    International Red Cross magazine reports on mental health professionals counseling therapy post Japan earthquakehttp://www.redcross.int/EN/mag/magazine2011_2/24-25.html


  5. It is important to note that in Japan only a Ministry of Health, Welfare and Labour nationally licensed doctor/psychiatrist is allowed to diagnose and medically treat PTSD. If someone is diagnosed with PTSD then the medical treatment and prescription of medications to alleviate and treat PTSD can only be given by a psychiatrist or medical doctor.

  6. The Japan Earthquake and Tsunami Disasters Red Cross Work:

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