Peer Support Group
A free confidential listening and referral service for
Japan Exchange and Teaching Programme participants
Available every night from 8pm-7am!
Call us: 050-5534-5566 or Skype: 'AJETPSG'
Depression and Suicide
If you are considering suicide, please contact 1-800-Suicide (1-800-784-2433) via Skype, or TELL via phone at 03-5774-0992 until 11pm.
For calls past 11 pm, please contact Befrienders at 03-5286-9090; they are available from 8pm – 6am.
Depression can affect anyone at any time. Sadly people with depression are more likely to commit suicide. That doesn't mean however that everyone who is depressed attempts suicide or that all suicides are by depressed people. Below are resources for helping someone you may suspect has depression or is contemplating suicide.
What is Depression?
According to Psychology Today, "a depressive disorder is an illness that involves the body, mood, and thoughts. It interferes with daily life, normal functioning, and causes pain for both the person with the disorder and those who care about him or her.
A depressive disorder is not the same as a passing blue mood. It is not a sign of personal weakness or a condition that can be willed or wished away. People with a depressive illness cannot merely "pull themselves together" and get better. Without treatment, symptoms can last for weeks, months, or years. Depression is a common but serious illness, and most people who experience it need treatment to get better. Appropriate treatment, however, can help most people who suffer from depression."
Click here for our Counselling page, if you think you might be suffering from a depressive disorder.
Seasonal Affective Disorder
Seasonal Affective Disorder, or SAD, is a form of depression that affects people in a seasonal pattern. It is sometimes also known as the "winter blues" or winter depression. For further information you can read detailed articles about the symptoms and treatment of SAD from the UK National Health Service, the American Psychiatric Association, Psychology Today, and the National Institute of Mental Health.
Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder
Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder (PMDD) is a condition some women experience before their periods. Severe depression symptoms and irritability can occur and these symptoms are more severe than in the case of Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS).
In addition to physical symptoms such as cramps, headaches and joint and muscle pain, characteristic emotional experiences that occur are severe mood swings, a lack of energy, a high level of anxiety, feelings of hopelessness, feeling irritable/ stressed/ tearful and even suicidal thoughts.
Further information can be found at mind.org.uk and on the NHS website.
Perinatal depression affects many women during and after childbirth. It includes depression that begins during pregnancy (prenatal depression) and depression that begins after childbirth (postpartum depression).
Further information can be found on the website of the US National Institute of Mental Health and the NHS. The US National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) has also compiled a comprehensive summary about depression in women here.
Resources on Suicide and Depression
This informative WebMD article gives general information on suicide as well as lists warning signs.
SAVE is a great website that touches on suicide and depression. Click on the left under "Suicide Prevention and Depression Information" for many articles on these topics.
Psychology Today has many informative articles on a range of mental topics. Use the top bar to search.
Befrienders Worldwide offers international volunteer run centres and helplines. Click above to see their Japanese locations and phone lines. The website gives the option of sending information to people you suspect are contemplating suicide.
IMAlive.org is a volunteer-run online crisis network where you can do an online chat to a volunteer anonymously at any time. It operates through an instant messaging system, and it may be useful for people who want to talk to someone but don't feel comfortable talking on the phone.