Nonprofit funds mental help for Tohoku children


Kids at an APRICOT event (Photo courtesy of APRICOT)

The March 2011 Tohoku earthquake and tsunami sent hundreds of thousands of children, mothers and families to live in shelters and temporary housing. While much of the debris has been cleared, and many houses replaced, the wholesale devastation and relocation of communities and families has had a lasting effect, particularly on the region’s children. A March 2014 report by the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare found that a full 34 percent of children from the disaster-affected areas suffered from signs of PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder), including insomnia, chronic anxiety, emotional detachment, flashbacks and other symptoms.

The dog Pooka comforts a disaster survivor at an APRICOT event in Iwate
The dog Pooka comforts an Iwate disaster survivor
(Photo courtesy of APRICOT)

Certified on October 21, the Allied Psychotherapy Relief Initiative for the Children of Tohoku (APRICOT) is a nonprofit fund that aims to support Japan’s mental health professionals as they provide counseling relief for children and families affected by the March 2011 disaster—not just now but for the next 17 years, with the aim of offering ongoing aid until all the children of the disaster reach their Coming-of-Age day at age 20.

All the fund’s staff work on a completely voluntary basis—they don’t even claim expenses—to ensure all donations go to registered mental health NPOs and other organizations supporting Tohoku children’s mental health. Recipient organizations include the Japan Society of Certified Clinical Psychologists (JSCCP) and the Fukushima Society of Certified Clinical Psychologists (FSCPP).

APRICOT is always in need of people who have time to spare and a hand to lend, while donating by credit card is as easy as placing an order on Amazon or iTunes.

To donate or inquire about volunteering, visit .