[Perspectives on researches in disaster psychiatry].

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Abstract

After experiencing the catastrophic Great East Japan Earthquake and Tsunami disaster in 2011, Tohoku University founded the International Research Institute of Disaster Science (IRIDeS) in April, 2012. IRIDeS, comprising 7 divisions and 36 laboratories with broad areas of specialization, from the humanities to natural sciences, aims to become a global center for the study of disasters and disaster mitigation, learning from and building upon past lessons in disaster management from Japan and around the world. In IRIDeS, the Department of Disaster Psychiatry is in charge of dealing with issues related to disaster psychiatry, including the psychosocial impact of disasters. Now, at more than 2 and a half years after the catastrophic disaster, the psychological impact actually seems to be getting stronger and wider, whereas the memory of the disaster seems to be waning in other areas of the country. In such a situation, where a number of problems need to be resolved, what can/should we do as psychiatrists? On the other hand, other natural disasters, such as storms and floods, have kept hitting Japan, and catastrophes seem to strike somewhere in the world every year. In addition, we need to prepare for the possibility of a Nankai Trough Quake and an earthquake directly hitting the Tokyo area, which may occur sometime in the future. Considering the situation, we need to establish an education system for disaster psychiatry, and proceed with research to collect useful information to prepare for coming disasters. The aim of our department is to integrate multi-faceted basic and clinical research approaches to investigate the following topics: 1) to identify social, psychological, and biological factors involved in the pathophysiology of and recovery from disaster-related mental health problems; 2) to develop systems for disaster prevention, disaster response, and recovery, considering disaster-related psychiatric and psychological issues; 3) to develop useful tools for the prevention, screening, diagnosis, and treatment of disaster-related disorders; 4) to archive information regarding disaster psychiatry; and 5) to corporate with other countries regarding disaster-related psychiatric issues. As knowledge regarding the above issues will be accumulated, and awareness of disaster-related psychiatric issues will be shared among mental health professionals and society, disaster psychiatry will be advanced.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)231-237
Number of pages7
JournalSeishin shinkeigaku zasshi = Psychiatria et neurologia Japonica
Volume116
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2014

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)

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