Support

Living in Miyazaki poses similar challenges to any experience living overseas, with some of the flavours being distinct to the culture, lifestyle, and beliefs in Japan and this particular prefecture.

Fortunately, the JET Programme and the international community across the country have set up a vast array of resources to help with any questions or concerns. This page explains the systems that are in place, provides some guidance specific to JETs in Miyazaki, and lists counselling services available across Japan.

Table of contents

Your Contracting Organization and the Prefectural Advisors
The Block System
Mental Health Resources
Emergency Response
Support Groups
Other Resources

Your Contracting Organization and the Prefectural Advisors

First, it is important to understand that CLAIR (Council of Local Authorities for International Relations) has administered changes to the support structure for JET Programme participants in 2014, with the goal of making JETs more independent. Towards this, Contracting Organizations (your school or local board of education) are now receiving more training and support to help them be more responsible for their JETs. This can mean, however, that the people responsible for helping you may be adjusting to this new system and their roles. Please be mindful of this should you reach out to someone who may not immediately know what the best course of action is or who they should refer you to.

As an ALT dealing with an issue, whether stress from work, culture shock, disagreement with a coworker, or anything else, your first point of reference is the ALT Handbook, which you received a hard copy of at Tokyo Orientation.

If the Handbook doesn’t answer your queries or help guide your next steps, speak with your supervisor. You can approach them with the goal of resolving an issue directly or to ask for their support in seeking external help, such as counselling. If your supervisor doesn’t have the means or resources to help you, or if you have an issue that you cannot speak with your supervisor about (e.g. this issue is your supervisor), then it’s time to reach out to one of your Prefectural Advisors (PAs).

2017 Prefectural Advisors:

Prefectural ALTs Chad Jaspe altmiyazakipa@gmail.com
Municipal ALTs Heyne Kim heyne-kim@pref.miyazaki.lg.jp

The goal of your PAs is to help JET participants like yourself be comfortable and independent with living and teaching in Japan. This means that PAs will help JETs build good relationships with their contracting organizations. PAs are here to help with a broad range of topics including paid leave (nenkyuu), re-contracting, insurance, accidents or injuries, dentists and clinics, driver’s licenses, any issues you may have with your supervisor or contracting organization, and stress.

The JET Programme support system

The JET Programme support system

It is also important to be aware that ALT supervisors also have three PAs working at the Board of Education: one for municipal ALTs, one for Senior High Schools ALTs, and one for prefectural Junior High School and Elementary ALTs. Your supervisor should not hesitate to reach out to these persons for further resources that your contracting organization cannot provide.

Please note that since the changes made in 2014, JET participant PAs are no longer receiving training for guidance counselling. If you feel the need for a new perspective on a situation and don’t have anyone you feel comfortable speaking with about it, JETs are always welcome to reach out to their PA. Similarly, if there is a serious problem at school, problems communicating with your supervisor or teachers, harassment or bullying, etc, that you feel would benefit from third party intervention, that is another thing the PAs are here to help with.

If, after speaking with family, friends, your supervisor, a PA, or anyone else you reach out to, you decide that you would like guidance from a professional counselor, then your contracting organization or PA can help you find someone. Keep in mind that the PAs will ask if you have spoken to your supervisor before coming to them, and will suggest that as a preliminary course of action. Please also note that, at the moment, there are no English-speaking counsellors in Miyazaki, so any appointment that you make would be conducted via Skype or phone.

The Block System

blocks_map

Miyazaki Prefecture has been divided into 8 blocks, and each year a senior JET participant volunteers to become their block’s leader. The block system was created as a way of ensuring every JET participant in the prefecture could be contacted promptly in the event of an emergency. The block leaders contact the people in their area and then report back to Heyne, the PA responsible for the block system in Miyazaki. If you are a JET in Miyazaki, you will be part of an ‘emergency drill’ each year that tests the block system’s efficacy.

Additionally, the block leaders also organize small events around their immediate JET community to facilitate a sense of belonging and to foster good relationships between JETs in the same area. Block leaders are usually excellent resources for local activities to partake in, places to visit, venues to dine at, and other things be aware of in the area.

If you would like to get in touch with the leader of a particular block, please refer to the list below and let us know! We’ll forward your request to the appropriate person. If you are a JET in Miyazaki, stay tuned for your next block event!

2017 Block Leaders:

Block 1: Ray Espinol Block 5: Miena Roux
Block 2: Katie Alonso Block 6: Tam Kingwill
Omer Malchi
Block 3: Chris Golden Block 7: Roxy Dao
JC Orolfo
Block 4: James Sherman Block 8: Syd Peacock

Mental Health Resources

The following is a list of counselling and support resources available to foreigners in Miyazaki. It has been adapted from the JET Programme website’s Support Available to JET Participants page.

TELL Counseling
TELL Counseling provides confidential and comprehensive mental health services for the increasingly diverse international community in Japan. They offer a broad array of mental health care services by multidisciplinary and multilingual therapists and psychologists.
03-4550-1146 (English) call to schedule an appointment

TELL Lifeline
Since its establishment in Japan in 1973, TELL has been dedicated to providing world-class, effective support and counseling services to Japan’s international community and helping to address the country’s growing mental health care needs. While Lifeline is a suicide hotline, you don’t need to be suicidal to call. Whatever is troubling you, they are here to listen.
03-5774-0992 (English), 9 am – 11 pm, every day of the year

AJET Peer Support Group
The AJET Peer Support Group is a listening and referral service which operates on the principles of confidentiality and anonymity. They are open to all JET Programme participants every night of the year, from 8:00 pm to 7:00 am—a period when other services such as the Tokyo English Life Line (TELL) are not in service, and when Prefectural Advisors (PAs) are often unavailable.
Their volunteers are all current JET Programme participants. Whether you’ve had a bad day at work, need to see a doctor at 3:00 am or just want to speak English with someone, the volunteers at PSG are available to listen.
050-5534-5566
Skype: “AJETPSG”, 8 pm – 7 am daily

IMHPJ (International Mental Health Professionals Japan)
IMHPJ is an association of individuals providing mental health care to those of different nationalities and cultures in Japan. IMHPJ therapists practice throughout Japan. If you are in need of a therapist in your area, please contact them through email.
http://www.imhpj.org/

Emergency Response

Japan Helpline
This is Japan’s only 24 hour non-profit, nationwide emergency assistance service. Whether it is an earthquake, the subway gas attack, or just a toothache in the middle of the night, they are always first to help as Japan’s only 24-hour, nationwide assistance service for the international community.
0570 000 911 24 Hours, 7 days a week

Support Groups

AA (Alcoholics Anonymous) Japan
http://www.aatokyo.org

Overeaters Anonymous Japan (self-support group for people with eating disorders)
http://www.oaintokyo.org

Other Resources

Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Useful support information may be found on embassy websites of JET participants’ home countries. Find a full list of embassies at the MOFA website.

AMDA International Medical Information Center (Tokyo)
The AMDA’s goal is to ensure that any person living in Japan has a chance to receive appropriate medical care under the protection of fundamental human rights. They offer various services such as giving foreigners medical information in Japan, providing Japanese people engaged in medical services with foreign medical information, and free-of-charge telephone interpretation services.
03-5285-8088
9 am – 8 pm daily (English, Thai, Chinese, Korean, Spanish)
9 am – 5 pm Wed/Thu/Fri (Portuguese)

Japan HIV Center
03-5259-0256, 12 pm – 3 pm Sat