TELL Japan: Supporting Your Mental Health Needs

TELL stands as a steadfast pillar of support for Japan’s international community since its establishment in 1973. This nonprofit organization goes beyond the ordinary, providing vital free, anonymous, and confidential assistance through phone and chat services. Notably, TELL extends its commitment by offering professional face-to-face counseling and running an extensive outreach program.

The genesis of TELL is rooted in the recognition of a critical need – the establishment of an English-language service similar to the Japanese suicide prevention helpline, Inochi-no-denwa. In response to this imperative, missionaries and members of English-speaking congregations in Tokyo took the initiative. The organization’s inaugural training in 1972 involved around 50 volunteers under the guidance of just 7 trainers, with TELL taking its inaugural call on April 1st, 1973.

In its initial eight months, TELL handled slightly over 1,000 calls. A significant evolution occurred by 2013, marking its 40th anniversary, with the call volume increasing nearly sevenfold. The changing landscape of these calls reflects the evolving challenges of the internet age. Volunteers are now addressing complex issues such as depression and anxiety, prompting TELL’s training program to adapt accordingly.

Despite extending its Lifeline service to three shifts a day by 1988 and four shifts by 2003, TELL faces the challenge of unattended calls during the hours from 23:00-09:00. The organization is determined to provide a 24-hour service and is actively exploring strategies to attract more volunteers while upholding the high standards set in their training programs.

TELL’s impact extends beyond its lifeline services. The organization is affiliated with the Federation of Inochi-no-denwa, has established specialized helplines like TELL/HIV (now incorporated into the general Lifeline), and initiated a Filipino Lifeline. Further, TELL holds accreditation from the Samaritan Institute in the US, a crucial recognition for its face-to-face counseling services since 1991.

In response to the changing needs of the community, TELL expanded its services in the late 1990s to include support for children and adolescents, building an extensive portfolio for Children and Families, including assessments. The establishment of a medical clinic in 2009 further enabled TELL to offer comprehensive psychiatric and counseling support to the community.

A noteworthy milestone for TELL came in 2013, its 40th anniversary year, when it attained certified NPO status. This accomplishment reflects the organization’s enduring dedication and underscores its pivotal role as a support structure for the international community in Japan. TELL’s journey has been both impressive and purposeful, solidifying its commitment to providing crucial assistance and fostering mental health and well-being.

Please visit their website for more information. View TELL Japan Website.

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