Kyoko Shimada

Have you ever considered the importance of mental resilience? Living is hard. As you move through several obstacles, your mental health can weaken. In Japan, people tend to hesitate about the idea of therapy. But Kyoko Shimada, who is the representative director of the Institute for Mind Balance, is trying to eliminate this stigma.

What are some ways you are helping your community?

Japan's is quickly becoming an elderly country, and with that unfortunately death becomes a frequent occurrence . A lot of people get distracted with their daily life, so denying the loss becomes a common reaction. I want to teach people to face it head on and that death is nothing to be scared of.


Build Resilience and Help Each Other With a Smile

Japan was built on a practice of helping one another but as the years gone by, it slowly shifted to people minding their own business. I believe that it's so important to start lending a helping hand to those in need again. A simple "are you ok?" can help so many people.





Kyoko Shimada

Have you ever considered the importance of mental resilience? Living is hard. As you move through several obstacles, your mental health can weaken. In Japan, people tend to hesitate about the idea of therapy. But Kyoko Shimada, who is the representative director of the Institute for Mind Balance, is trying to eliminate this stigma.


After graduating college, she began working at a traditional corporate job in the HR department and noticed that the people there were terribly overworked. As a result, those people had to quit the company, or even worse, committed suicide. Witnessing this firsthand, Kyoko was determined to help those with mental issues and enrolled herself in graduate school to learn about preventive care.


When Kyoko lived in the United States, she experienced culture shock when she found out that many locations, like schools and hospitals, have an on staff therapist or counselor readily available for anyone who wants to have a mental consultation.


Japan offers no such thing. Japan instills the belief that if you are having any mental problems, instead of seeking help, you are told to fix it yourself. But the mind can only take so much, and after a while, the pain becomes unbearable, and you may start to break.




Covid has caused many of us to confront death. Combined with the increasing population of elderly people in Japan, Kyoko has been wanting to focus on the mourning process when people experience death. “A lot of people get distracted with their daily life, so denying the loss becomes a common reaction. I want to teach people to face it head on and that death is nothing to be scared of.”


Regretting the past and worrying about the future is one of the major causes of anxiety and depression. In Japan, the sad reality is that when you go to a mental clinic, the diagnosis is completed in just 3 minutes and you get prescribed medication. However iit becomes difficult to return to society because the medication does not solve the underlying problem, only numbs it.


Kyoko wants to teach her clients to strengthen their resilience so that they can have the strength to recover by themselves. "I want to be a guide for people who do not know how to self-care," she said.


"Japan used to be a mutual aid society. I want to go back and re-introduce the idea of ​​helping the ones in need with a smile." Japan tends to think that going to therapy is a sign of weakness. That is why it is difficult for the idea of therapy to spread across the country. Japan is a country where they worry about the opinion of others but let’s try to break that mold and not be afraid to ask for help and help others. Isn’t that a wonderful way to live?