Vlogger Logan Paul Spurs Discussion About Suicide


Logan Paul apologizes for vlogging images of a suicide victim in Aokigahara Forest, Japan.

YouTube Vlogger Logan Paul posted a controversial video on December 31, 2017, showing the corpse of a suicide victim as he hung from a tree, all the while cracking jokes with his entourage after they ventured off the marked path into the restricted areas of Aokigahara Forest, a.k.a. one of the suicide forests in Japan. The YouTube universe, Twitterverse, and mainstream media have since been awash with commentary, mostly condemnation, of the vlogger for a number of reasons.

While it was indeed disrespectful, the controversy has a bright side in that it is spurring discussion about the seriousness of suicide and the mental disorders, e.g. depression, that are mostly the cause for suicides. The internet news cycle is short and fickle, but it is our hope that this round of public discourse will move the dial forward for suicide prevention and helping those with depression to get timely help and treatment.

How You Can Help

To help those suffering from depression and susceptible to suicide, compassionate people can do any or all of the following to make a difference:

  • Donate to CJMH (or another mental health non-profit charity) that focuses on helping people suffering from mental illness. CJMH is unique in that our primary goal is in helping the under-served Japanese population, within Japan and wherever they may reside in the world.
  • Learn how to recognize when someone you know needs help, and how you can get them to seek help
  • Humble brag to your social networks about your philanthropy and compassion and call out others to support us too. We suggest the following landing pages when linking to us:
    • http://www.cjmh.org/about-us/   Describes our mission
    • http://www.cjmh.org/give/   Donation page
    • http://www.cjmh.org/what-we-do/suicide-prevention/   Suicide prevention guidelines

Why Donate to CJMH vs Other Charities?

One fortunate side-effect of the Logan Paul fallout is the charity shown to organizations combating suicide. Many response vlogs post links to suicide hotlines while others call upon viewers to donate to non-profit charities related to suicide prevention.

CJMH was fortunate to receive two such callouts, but Telljp.com mistakenly received many more. While Tell is a cause worthy of support, it like countless others focus their efforts on the English-speaking population. Tell is located in Japan, but the Tell mission is to provide counseling to Japan’s non-Japanese international community – not to Japanese people. Many vloggers and donors are falsely believing they are supporting Japanese sufferers when they link and donate to Tell.

CJMH is based in the USA but serves Japanese in need – whether they reside in Japan or anywhere else in the world via videoconferencing. But why are donations needed from non-Japanese people to help Japanese people? Simply put, because they are largely unable to help themselves at this time. And as friends to Japan and its people, they need our help and charity.

Japan, like many other Asian nations, highly stigmatizes mental illness and those who suffer from it. As a result, people suffering from mental illness hide their condition and suffer in silence; or their families seclude them from public view to avoid condemnation and ostracization. Native Japanese seldom seek help for themselves and rarely donate to help others..

The Judeo-Christian influenced world is one steeped in charity and philanthropy, but other nations including Japan have not evolved cultures that support or promote philanthropy. They look to their governments to provide what they need. Mental health was largely ignored until the 2011 Great East Earthquake struck Japan. Since then the Japanese government has embarked on mental health reform efforts, but they are about 50-60 years behind the West (e.g. USA and England) in mental health infrastructure reform.

And the direction they’re seemingly taking now, i.e. even greater over-reliance on MD’s, is vastly differently than the deconstructive push towards outpatient care that has been adopted by Western cultures. Japan has no licensure or standardization for psychologists or psychotherapists. As a result, services provided by those Japanese who have obtained certificates as psychologists and psychotherapist are not covered by health insurance. The duo of stigmatization and paying out-of-pocket keeps Japanese silently suffering from mental illness until their conditions degrade enough to warrant costly hospitalization and physician intervention. And those are the lucky ones. Others simply die alone, sometimes in suicide.

And so CJMH is here to help the Japanese people who are largely under-served for mental health problems. Our mission is multi-pronged to address urgent needs with programs and services and push for longer-term solutions with education, advocacy, and professional development. And CJMH greatly appreciates your support in the form of donations to enable us to carry forth our mission. Thank you.

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