Some Self-Defense Forces personnel dispatched to areas hit by the Great East Japan Earthquake have a high risk of suffering from trauma or depression, according to a survey conducted by the Defense Ministry.
The ministry plans to strengthen its long-term mental health care for SDF personnel.
Senior Vice Defense Minister Shu Watanabe reported the survey results at the Cabinet Committee of the House of Representatives on Wednesday. It was the first full-scale survey of mental health conditions for SDF personnel sent to the disaster-hit areas.
According to the survey, 3.3 percent of Ground Self-Defense Force personnel sent to the disaster-hit areas had a high risk of suffering from trauma, along with 4.3 percent of Maritime Self-Defense Force and 7.5 percent of Air Self-Defense Force personnel. Meanwhile, 2.2 percent of GSDF and 6.5 percent of ADSF personnel are at high risk of becoming depressed or developing other psychological disorders.
The MSDF did not conduct a survey on depression, but five members were diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD.
The survey was conducted over six months after SDF personnel finished their missions in disaster-hit areas. There were 58,050 respondents from the GDSF, and 6,112 from the MSDF. From the ASDF, 3,319 members participated in the survey on trauma, while 2,829 members took part in the survey on depression.
The ASDF only surveyed members from Matsushima Airbase in Higashi-Matsushima, Miyagi Prefecture, which was seriously hit by the tsunami.
(Mar. 9, 2012)