Coronavirus COVID-19 Disability Japan

Can we prevent ‘corona depression’? The experiences of people with disabilities in Japan

In order to prevent the so-called “corona depression,” which is understood as depression brought on by the prolonged need to 'stay home' associated with the new coronavirus, a meeting was held online for people with disabilities to talk about their worries.

Written with extracts translated from NHK

May 18 2020

In order to prevent the so-called “corona depression,” which is understood as depression brought on by the prolonged need to ‘stay home’ associated with the new coronavirus, a meeting was held online for people with disabilities to talk about their worries.

This meeting was held on the 16th, organized by the group “Future to the Future”, which is a group of people with cerebral infarction and cerebral hemorrhage who have paralysis. All participants were their 30s and and from 60s from Osaka, Shiga, and Nagasaki.

At the meeting, each participant in turn talked about changes in life due to refraining from going out.

Two women said that they were unable to go to rehabilitation one after another, and their physical condition became unwell, and they were depressed.

Some people argued that there was an increase in quarrels because they did not let their families understand how hard their bodies were, and that they were able to walk better than before if they were walking down a slope in their neighborhood. I was listening to other people’s stories with tears and tears.

A woman in her 50s who participated said, “I was so happy to talk with my friends and weeped. I was able to understand the feeling that I was depressed, and I was encouraged to see that everyone was working hard.”

The organizer or ‘caretaker’ Kyoko Doihata said:

There are things that people with the same disability can understand each other. I want to connect with colleagues all over the country and work together to overcome the stress of going out.”

This meeting will be held online once in a week or two every week for the time being.

People with disabilities who go out and refrain from going out

Kanae Tachibana (59) from Osaka City, who participated in the event, had a cerebral infarction five years ago and had paralysis on his left leg, and went to rehabilitation five days a week.

However, he spends most of his time at home because the rehabilitation facility was closed due to the new coronavirus.

He says that even if he tries to work on rehabilitation alone, he cannot get the support of the specialized staff, so he is not successful, and he is worried whether his method is correct.

In the past, he gathered a few times a month with colleagues who had the same illness and talked to each other to encourage each other, but now I have no place to do that.

Even for the family members who lived together, it was difficult to convey the feelings of physical distress and the need for help, and the feelings were so depressed that they could not sleep at all.

Mr. Tachibana said, “I wasn’t able to move freely and asked my family for help, but I was often wondering why I couldn’t do it. I had the same illness. There are so many things that we can understand because we are friends, so I’m sorry that I can’t see you for a while, and I really want to laugh and cry together. “

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