Where can I get a mental health medication or counselling in Japan?
In Japan, mental health care services are arranged into 3 major groups.
Psychiatrists generally work 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.
Consulting times are generally short, less than 30 minutes when you use Japanese Health Insurance.
Psychiatrists can prescribe medications to treat mental health conditions. General internal medicine doctors can prescribe some mental health related medications but restrictions apply. If you are taking several kinds of psychiatric medications it is recommended to see a psychiatrist rather than an internal medicine doctor.
Psychiatric services are covered by Japanese Health Insurance.
Psychosomatic medicine doctors usually work in local clinics and often see general internal medicine patients in the same office. They mainly treat physical problems caused by psychological stress, such as insomnia. Psychosomatic medicine doctors may not be able to 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 counselling services. They work in mental health clinics, hospitals and counselling centers. Some clinical psychologists provide telephone or skype counselling.
Clinical psychologists can perform psychological tests, but cannot prescribe medication. Generally, they can deal with patients with wide range of mental health issues but some specialize in only counselling.
At present, there is no national licence system (like the one for medical doctors) to become a clinical psychologist in Japan. Depending on the skill and experience of the psychologists, the quality of service a patient receives can differ.
Counselling services are 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.
Please contact us to discuss your needs.