Volume 4 (2017) Issue 1 Pages 66-73
Aim: This study aimed to clarify the nature of health support activities carried out for schoolchildren by a Yogo teacher at a school for special needs education who experienced the Great East Japan Earthquake.
Methods: A qualitative case study was carried out in June 2014 and involved a Yogo teacher working at a school for special needs education in Fukushima Prefecture that was damaged by the Great East Japan Earthquake in 2011. The School Principal and Yogo teacher at the institution in question were notified of the nature of the research, and consent to participate was obtained with the return of consent forms. A semi-structured interview was conducted using an interview guide developed by the author. A verbal transcript of the interview was created and qualitatively analyzed using a narrative approach.
Results: The experience of the Yogo teacher was examined in three chronological stages: (a) at the time of the earthquake; (b) during the move to an emergency shelter; and (c) after the school was reopened at a branch location. At the time of the earthquake, despite efforts to avoid inciting panic among schoolchildren, many students experienced considerable anxiety. In their lives at the shelter, it became clear that medical care for children with disabilities was not carried out on a priority basis.
Conclusions: The Yogo teacher was evacuated along with the children and was aware of the particular challenge of empathizing with the children’s feelings of anxiety. The findings suggest the need for long-term health support in relation to mental health care for affected schoolchildren.