Fukushima Prefecture Mental health checks for stress, depression and PTSD symptoms
Fukushima — The Fukushima Prefectural Government will conduct mental health checks starting next month on about 200,000 residents who had to evacuate due to the nuclear crisis, according to its health committee.
It will also start conducting checkups on about 20,000 pregnant women this year, the panel of experts said Monday.
After the 1986 nuclear disaster in Chernobyl, the number of people suffering from mental illness is believed to have increased due to radiation fears and changes in their living circumstances.
Residents subject to Fukushima's survey will be divided into four groups — children up to age 6, elementary school students, junior high school students, and high school age and older people.
As for children up to junior high school age, their parents will be required to check whether any changes in their children's behavior have been observed, such as whether they tend to be scared or quick to get angry.
Older people will be required to answer questions regarding stress and posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), as well as whether they have experienced any changes in their lifestyles, including sleep and diet, after the nuclear disaster started.
The prefecture will offer telephone consultations or introduce medical institutions to people who may need treatment, the committee said.
All pregnant women who have been given maternity health record books in the prefecture from August 2010 to July 2011, including those who have evacuated outside Fukushima, are subject to the checkups, it said.
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