What is the Mental Health Environmental Change Project?

The Mental Health Environmental Change Project is a Japan-US-UK joint project led by community and mental health experts to improve the mental health environment in Japan and promote our mental health.

The importance of mental health care has been advocated in the world these days. With the outbreak of COVID-19 in 2019, the number of people who need mental health support has increased rapidly. In addition, there are various effects on mental and physical health such as social distress due to war, tragic incidents, an increase in suicides, fatigue, and a decrease in hope for the future of young people. The world has a realization that mental health support is necessary to maintain our well-being.

Since its enactment of the Community Mental Health Act in 1963,the US has been focused on providing mental health support through community based mental health initiatives. Community mental health initiatives allow people to improve their wellness by receiving mental health support within their community, instead of receiving treatment only at specialized institutions, such as hospitals and psychiatric clinics.

Our ultimate goal

In fact, It is evident that in countries like the United States with advanced mental health policies and decades of investment in improving their mental health environment, many more people are benefiting from this and receiving mental health support.

In countries such as Japan, where the mental health environment is not yet developed or has a strong cultural resistance to mental illness, it is difficult to access mental health care. As a result, many people continue to suffer from mental health issues.

It is predicted that this mental health status will worsen in the future and the impact on the next generation will be immeasurable if proper care and support are not provided.

The  Mental Health Environment Change Project is a social activity to protect the mental health in Japan and promote our mental health. The community will take the initiative in improving the mental health environment of Japan with the support of mental health and medical experts from Japan, the UK, and the US. We aim to create an environment where many people can easily access receive mental health support.

Bringing together the expertise and experience from established mental health systems in the US with experts in Japan allows us to integrate resources and develop a mental health system which best aligns with Japanese culture. Japan can more efficiently and effectively build a mental health system that supports its mental health and wellness.

First Steps

As the first phase to improve accessibility, we will build a website to provide effective and timely access to those who need mental health support.

Service Features

We believe that reliability and a sense of safety are important in building this website.

Feature 1: Quality assurance of registered counselors

Registered counselors undergo careful screening and receive continuous education and training to improve their counseling skills. Providing an environment where clients can feel safe in receiving the counseling service is essential. In addition, by building a website while gaining the knowledge and experience of psychological and medical experts widely, the credibility of medical institutions will be improved, and medical and psychological support will effectively support clients. This medical and mental cooperation will continue to provide comprehensive support to clients.

Feature 2: Partnerships with medical institutions and domestic and international experts

Not limiting the above collaboration in Japan, but we widely introduce the knowledge and experience of mental health systems developed in the advanced mental health countries such as the United States. It helps this mental health system to be more reliable and effective.

Feature 3: Intake System

Also, when using counseling, which emphasizes the usability of clients, many people are worried about "I don't know who to ask for counseling" or "It is difficult to decide whether I should really see counseling". In order to solve those concerns, we will introduce a function called “concierge (intake)” who has received professional training.

Besides the traditional self-counselor search function, you will receive third-party support to find a counselor that is more suitable for you and your symptoms. In addition, when counseling clients in partnership with doctors and medical institutions, this concierge can communicate with doctors so that they can be referred to counselors more appropriately.

Our contribution to you

Users Benefit

  • Clients can search counselors, resources, and mental health information.
  • All counselors are approved by the screening and the credentialing process.
  • Concierge (intake) helps clients to connect with the best match counselor.
  • Provide learning opportunities for mental health.

Counselors Benefit

  • Highly trusted website for counselors to use.
  • Concierge screens the potential clients for the clinicians and minimizes the mismatches between clients and counselors.
  • Counselors can provide psychoeducation and training programs to users on the website page.
  • Counselors receive support and obtain learning opportunities to improve their clinical skills and knowledge (continuing education).
  • Counselors can exchange information and knowledge nationally and internationally.

Doctors Benefit

  • Doctors can refer their patients, who need higher mental health care and support, to counselors.
  • The concierge consults with doctors and connects their patients to the best match counselors.
  • Doctors can provide medical knowledge and information to users on the website information page.
  • Obtain the psychological information and support.
  • Collaborate with mental health professionals and exchange useful resources and knowledge nationally and internationally.

Project Supporter (Professional)

United States of America

Stephen Murphy Shigematsu,Ph.D
Stanford University /Psychologist

Reiko Homma True,Ph.D
Psychologist/Marriage and Family Therapist

Mai Shimada, MD
Emergency Medicine/Addiction Medicin

Takeo Toyoshima, MD
Psychiatrist/UCSF Assistant Clinical Professor in Psychiatry

Nobuko Hattori,Ph.D
Doctor of Philosophy

Manami Yamamoto, LMFT
Marriage and Family Therapist

Seiji Nishina, PsyD, LMFT
Marriage and Family Therapist

Rei Yamada, LMFT
Marriage and Family Therapist

Junko Adachi, LMFT
Marriage and Family Therapist

Chiaki Sasaki, Psy.D
Clinical Psychologist

Yukiko Hishiya, Psy.D, LMFT
Marriage and Family Therapist

Takeo Toyoshima, MD
Psychiatrist/UCSF Assistant Clinical Professor in Psychiatry

United Kingdom

Yasuhiro Kotera, Ph.D
Associate Professor, Mental Health, University of Nottingham/ Accredited Psychotherapist


Yasuhiro Kotera, Ph.D
Associate Professor, Mental Health, University of Nottingham/ Accredited Psychotherapist



Yukiko Nagashima. MD
Family Doctor/Primary Care

Daisuke Oshioka, Ph.D
Professor of Kyushu Women's University/

Maki Yamamoto, LMFT
Rinsyo-Shinrishi/ Konin-Shinrishi /
Marriage and Family Therapist

Masako Iguchi

Shusuke Sawaki


Masako Iguchi

Community Project Members

Yoshikazu Masuda
Yoshie Kubota
Taiko Kametani
Akashi Kobayashi
Tasuku Shiraki
Chie Matsuura
Leyna Matsumoto
Mika Miyatani
Ohnishi Hideki

Contact Us

If you are interested in, agree with, or would like to cooperate with the Mental Health Environmental Change Project, please feel free to contact us.