30 March 30 2006 --Tokyo English Life Line (TELL) announced that the Japanese government Cabinet Office has approved the organization’s application for “specified non-profit organization” (NPO) status, and TELL has completed its registration as an NPO. TELL is the first organization providing comprehensive mental health services to the international community in Japan to receive NPO status, and this change opens a new chapter in the development of a counseling organization that has been helping people for more than 30 years.
NPO status gives TELL a solid foundation from which to promote programs in collaboration with both government and private-sector organizations, as well as advocate for the international community on mental health issues. TELL will also be able to expand its efforts to new areas such as psychiatric prescribing.
“This is a dramatic leap forward for TELL, and we are truly excited about the new doors that NPO status opens for us,” said Dr. Tsuyoshi Akiyama, director of the department of psychiatry at NTT East’s Kanto Medical Center and chairman of the TELL board of directors. “Not only will it enhance our clinical activities, but it allows us to pursue funding opportunities not previously available to the organization.”
Upper House member Akira Matsu, Senior Vice Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry, who has long been active in promoting better medical and welfare care, said, “The importance of mental health care is a growing concern in Japan. I am very pleased to learn that NPO status was recently granted to Tokyo English Life Line, which for many years has provided comprehensive mental health care services to the international community in Japan. Given the increased demand for TELL’s services among the Japanese population, as well, I look forward to TELL continuing to expand its role as a leader in mental health services for the international community.”
TELL has been providing confidential counseling and support for the international community since 1973. It was founded with the support of several churches and the Japanese suicide prevention hotline, “Inochi no denwa.” Initially a telephone-only service, in 1991 the organization added the TELL Community Counseling Service, which provides professional face-to-face counseling by experienced therapists, workshops, and community outreach programs.
While originally focused on the foreign community, over the years TELL has seen a significant increase in the demand for its services among the Japanese population, as international marriages proliferate and more Japanese experience difficulties readjusting after their return from living or working overseas. TELL looks forward to continuing to be a leader in the provision of mental health treatment, and to promoting the development of mental health care services in Japan.