October 15th 2019
MASHIKI, Kumamoto Pref-– Children in Kumamoto Prefecture are still in need of mental health care for the trauma and stress they suffered from deadly earthquakes that hit the southwestern Japan prefecture in April 2016.
Local people say some children remain unable to concentrate on their studies. Some have been newly found to be in need of care although the prefectural education board works on a long-term project to help children strengthen their mental resilience by facing up to their disaster experiences.
At an elementary school in Mashiki, hit twice by a temblor measuring the highest reading of 7 on the Japanese seismic intensity scale, four third- to fourth-graders started crying suddenly and showed other symptoms in April this year.
In cooperation with experts, the governments of the prefecture and its namesake capital created programs to help children improve their mental resilience, carrying out mental and physical health surveys three times a year.
In the first survey in May 2016, which covered over 170,000 students at public schools in the prefecture, 4,277 were found to be in need of mental health care.