Background The triple disaster that struck the Tohoku region on March 11, 2011, has had massive psychiatric, social, and physical effects on the people of Japan. A staggering loss of life and property, as well as an ongoing nuclear disaster, has dramatically affected the ability of the country to recover. Objective In an effort to better understand the current social, health, and mental health needs of the region affected by the disaster and to share lessons from 9/11, a group of 9/11 survivors and doctors from the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai traveled to sites throughout the Fukushima, Miyagi, and Iwate prefectures. Methods A qualitative analysis was performed on transcripts of the cultural and medical exchanges, which occurred on this trip to identify relevant themes about the problems confronting the recovery effort almost 3 years after the disaster. Findings Significant themes that emerged included a crippling radiation anxiety, a considerable stigma toward addressing mental health care, and a shortage of mental health care throughout the region, as well as ongoing psychiatric symptoms such as insomnia, anxiety, and alcohol misuse. Conclusions These issues continue to complicate the recovery effort but suggest avenues for future interventions.
- Japan 3/11