With no end in sight to the ongoing Covid-19 coronavirus pandemic, it can be tough to cope during these difficult times. What's more, staying at home and social distancing – the very things we all should be doing to slow the spread of the virus – can take a toll on your mental and emotional well-being. Days of being cooped up in an apartment with little or no contact with other people just isn't easy to deal with.
Thankfully, there are free remote counselling options such as call-in hotlines, Skype and online chats, many of which are available in English language.
Tell Japan is an English-language not-for-profit organisation providing support and counselling services to Japan's international community. Tell Japan's LifeLine (03 5774 0992) is available between 9am and 11pm every day. Do note the service is free but charges may apply depending on your phone provider. If you don't feel like talking to someone on the phone, Tell also offers a free online text chat service. Due to coronavirus, the online chat hours have changed slightly, so check the website for the latest updates.
7 Cups is a global online mental health service and counselling community, which provides free chatrooms and online support including a chat group for the LGBTQ community. You can join groups or get paired up one-on-one with a trained 'active listener'. 7 Cups also offers online counselling with licensed therapists for a monthly fee. You can access 7 Cups via its website or app.
If you're currently in Japan as part of the Jet Programme, there's confidential and anonymous counselling with the AJET Peer Support Group. This free service is available via Skype and phone, 365 days a year and through the night from 8pm to 7am the following morning.
Emergency numbers in Japan you should know
Japan Helpline: 0570 000 911