Where can I get a mental health medication or counseling in Japan?
In Japan, there are 3 major groups of mental health care services.
Psychiatrists work at the psychiatrist department in hospitals or have a practice in a local clinic. They specialize in the diagnosis and treatment of various mental health problems such as depression, insomnia, anxiety, eating disorder, obsessive compulsive disorder.
The consulting time is generally not long, less than 30 minutes when you use Japanese Health Insurance. They can prescribe medications to treat mental health conditions. General internal medicine doctors can prescribe some mental health related medications but restrictions apply. It is recommended to seek treatment from a psychiatrist especially if you are taking several kinds of medications.
Psychiatric services are covered by Japanese Health Insurance.
Psychosomatic medicine doctors are generally working in local clinics, often they see general internal medicine patients in the same office. They mainly treat physical problems caused by psychological stress like insomnia. Psychosomatic medicine doctors may not treat psychiatric disorders like manic-depression or schizophrenia.
If you have a physical symptom and primary care doctors do not know the cause or treatment for it, psychosomatic medicine clinic is an option to get an opinion. They can prescribe medications to treat illnesses and are covered by Japanese Health Insurance.
Clinical psychologists provide face to face counseling services. They are working in mental health clinics, hospitals and counseling centers. Some clinical psychologists provide telephone counseling.
Clinical psychologists can perform psychological tests, but cannot prescribe medication. In general, They can deal with patients with wide range of mental health issues. However, some psychologists are only specialised in specific field of counseling.
There is no national licence system (like the one for medical doctors) to become a clinical psychologist as of now in Japan. Depending on the skill and experience of the psychologists, the quality of service a patient receives can differ.
Their counseling service is not covered by Japanese Health Insurance. The costs vary, generally 5,000 yen to 10,000 yen or more/50 min.
JHI can assist you find a mental health specialist that matches your needs. Contact us.