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Practical Report on Long-term Disaster Mental Health Services Following the Great East Japan Earthquake: Psychological and Social Background of Evacuees in Sendai City in the Mid- to Long-term Post-disaster Period

  • Masatsugu Orui (a1) (a2), Shuichiro Harada (a1), Mizuho Hayashi (a1) and for the Disaster Mental Health Team of the Sendai City Mental Health and Welfare Center
Abstract Objective

The Great East Japan Earthquake, which occurred on March 11, 2011, caused unprecedented damage. To address evacuees’ psychosocial issues, our disaster mental health team provided psychosocial support in the form of careful listening and providing information for reconstruction.


To summarize evacuees’ psychosocial issues, we reviewed records of our daily activities and analyzed factors related to continuation or termination of support. Terminated support was defined as the resolution or improvement of psychological issues relative to the time of initial support.


Based on logistic regression analysis, living in prefabricated temporary housing (odds ratio [OR]: 0.37; 95% confidence interval [CI]: 0.19-0.72), a high number of improved stress symptoms (0.81; 95% CI: 0.67-0.99), and higher support frequency (0.84; 95% CI: 0.78-0.90) were significantly associated with a lower likelihood of continuing support. Conversely, economic and resettlement issues (2.75; 95% CI: 1.63-4.64) and high numbers of stress symptoms (1.24; 95% CI: 1.06-1.45) were strongly and significantly associated with continuing support, particularly in the mid- to long-term phase following the earthquake (ie, after August 1, 2011). No significant association was found between support status and alcohol problems or disaster-related experiences (eg, loss of family or housing).


Our findings highlight the need to be aware of evacuees’ social issues such as resettlement in the mid- to long-term post-disaster phase. (Disaster Med Public Health Preparedness. 2017;11:439–450)

Corresponding author
Correspondence and reprint requests to Masatsugu Orui, Department of Public Health, Fukushima Medical University School of Medicine, Fukushima Prefecture, Japan (e-mail:
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Disaster Medicine and Public Health Preparedness
  • ISSN: 1935-7893
  • EISSN: 1938-744X
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