Lessons learned from The Great East Japan Earthquake: The need for disaster preparedness in the area of disaster mental health for children


  • Shuei Kozu, MSW, MHA
  • Hiroaki Homma, MD




disaster mental health, children, families, disaster preparedness, disaster response system


The Great East Japan Earthquake on March 11, 2011 brought unprecedented challenges to individuals, families, and communities of the Tohoku region in

Japan. Children are especially vulnerable to the postdisaster risk factors that impact their ability to heal. The destruction of the infrastructure by the disasters made it more challenging to reach out to children in an area where the stigma against mental illness is persistent. The authors share their experiences, what they heard from patients, and their reflections on lessons learned. The authors recommend the development of a coordinated mental health response system in preparation for the next disaster.

Author Biographies

Shuei Kozu, MSW, MHA

Clinical Social Worker, Boston Children's Hospital, Boston, Massachusetts; PhD Candidate, Simmons College School of Social Work, Boston, Massachusetts

Hiroaki Homma, MD

Medical Director, Miyagi Comprehensive Children's Center, Sendai, Miyagi, Japan.



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How to Cite

Kozu, MSW, MHA, S., and H. Homma, MD. “Lessons Learned from The Great East Japan Earthquake: The Need for Disaster Preparedness in the Area of Disaster Mental Health for Children”. Journal of Emergency Management, vol. 12, no. 6, Nov. 2014, pp. 431-9, doi:10.5055/jem.2014.0206.