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Suicide and Depression in Japan


The following piece written by Andrew Grimes on the topic of suicide, depression and JSCCP clinical psycholgist licensing in Japan is based on his comment that was first published in The Japan Times "READERS IN COUNCIL" section on June 14, 2009 under the title of, "Licensing of Clinical Psychologists" in response to a well researched editorial in the The Japan Times June 7 first published under the title of "EDITORIAL One (suicide) every 15 minutes". In particular the editorial pointed to one important aspect in the national campain to reduce the unnecessarily high annual suicide rate in Japan when it stated that, "because the reasons for committing suicide are so complex, detection, prevention and treatment must be flexible, humane and multi-directed. Easier access to help lines, clinics and counselors is a step that will help immediately. The number of psychiatrists and mental health professionals must be increased. Coverage for depression and other mental illnesses by public health insurance should be expanded and used more often."


"Licensing of Clinical Psychologists", The Japan Times 14th June



Licensing of Psychologists


"Regarding the June 7 editorial, "One (suicide) every 15 minutes": The current worldwide recession is of course impacting Japan, too, so unless very proactive and well-funded local and nationwide suicide prevention programs and initiatives are taken immediately, it is very difficult to foresee as achievable the government's previously stated intention of reducing the suicide rate to around 23,000 by 2016.

On the contrary, the numbers, and the human suffering, depression and misery that the people who become part of these numbers have to endure, may well stay at the current levels of the last 10 years. It could even get worse unless more is done to prevent this terrible loss of life.

The numbers of licensed psychiatrists (over 14,000 currently), Japan Society of Certified Clinical Psychologists (23,005 as of March 2011) and psychiatric social workers (52,035 as of September 2011) must be increased. In order for professional mental health counseling and psychotherapy services to be covered for depression and other mental illnesses by public health insurance, it would seem advisable that positive action be taken to resume and complete negotiations on how to achieve national licensing for clinical psychologists in Japan through the health ministry — not just the education ministry. These discussions were ongoing among all concerned mental health professional authorities at select committee and ministerial levels during the Koizumi administration.

With the current economic recession adding even more hardship and stress to citizens' lives, now would seem to be a prime opportunity to take a pro-active approach to finally getting government approval of national licensing for clinical psychologists who provide mental health care counseling and psychotherapy services to the people of Japan.


Current requirements for qualification and licensing to practice as a Clinical Psychologist or Psychiatric Social Worker in Japan.


The following links are provided for anyone interested in or intending to practice as a FJCBCP credentialed Clinical Psychologist or nationally licensed Psychiatric Social Worker (PSW) in Japan. The information available at these sites and links may be useful for:

1. any Japanese or international clinical psychology or social work students who are studying at universities abroad

2. any international mental health professionals (such as clinical psychologists, marriage and family therapists, and social workers) who are currently licensed only to practice ethically as mental health professionals in countries and states outside of Japan

3. any international media or educational professionals interested in learning and gaining more up to date information on the process of how to train in psychology in Japan and then qualify to sit the examinations to become licensed as a either a Clinical Psychologist or a Psychiatric Social Worker in Japan who can provide professional ethical and legally correct psychological and social support services as mental health professionals in Japan

4. anyone who is currently living in Tokyo or Japan and is in need of finding the services of a qualified mental health professional licensed in Japan.

Useful Links:

The Foundation of the Japanese Certification Board For Clinical Psychologists

Japan Society of Certified Clinical Psychologists (JSCCP)

Japanese Association of Psychiatric Social Workers

How to Find a JSCCP Approved Counseling Center Throughout Japan
This is the web version of the JSCCP publication: "Rinshoushinrishi deau tame ni"(臨床心理士になるために)

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