19 Juin 2012
June 19, 2012
FUKUSHIMA -- About 15 percent of women living in Fukushima Prefecture who gave birth after the meltdowns at the nuclear plant here have depressive tendencies, according to a recent prefectural survey.
The questionnaire, part of a Fukushima Prefectural Government resident health survey, was distributed to 15,954 expectant and nursing mothers in January this year. By late March, authorities obtained a total of 8,886 valid responses, or approximately a 55.7 percent response rate.
Their answer to questions, such as "Have you felt sad or depressed within a one month period?" suggested that 1,298 respondents, or 14.6 percent, have depression tendencies and need medical treatment or other forms of support.
In a free comment section, many respondents expressed anxiety over the nuclear crisis. Thirty-six percent of respondents answered that they wish radiation screenings and tests were conducted, and dosimeters distributed; 25 percent answered that they are concerned about radiation effects on their children's health, and 17 percent reported concerns over breastfeeding and using powdered milk, among other comments.
The prefectural government has arranged a telephone support system with nurses and other specialists at the Fukushima Medical University for women who reported signs of depression in the survey.
Prefectural officials have expressed their wish to continue the support system and a more detailed analysis of the survey in the future.