Updated: April 2011
We are shocked and saddened by the continuing devastating news in Japan following a magnitude 9.0 offshore quake and resulting tsunami. Thousands of people have been injured, displaced, and are missing in what is now being called the largest quake in modern Japanese history. The disaster impacts the entire campus community - staff, students, faculty and alumni. Some of us may have family members, relatives, friends, and colleagues affected directly or indirectly by the disaster.
We hope that you will contact us if you are struggling yourself or worried about another in our community.
The Tang Center's counseling services offers grief counseling and consultation for the campus. To make an appointment or speak to a counselor, please see contact information below:
For Faculty and Staff: CARE Services, the UCB employee assistance program, is available for confidential support at the Tang Center. CARE Services also includes elder care counseling for campus caregivers of seniors and dependent adults, including long distance caregiving. Telephone consultations and appointments for office visits are available by calling (510) 643-7754.
The University of California is monitoring the situation in Japan very carefully. Our primary focus at this point is to assist our students and faculty who are in Japan. We are currently working with experts in this field regarding concerns both here and in Japan. The situation remains very fluid. The California Department of Public Health is also monitoring the situation; we recommend that you visit their frequently asked questions website for detailed information about radiation (from the CDC).
For further credible information about radiation and the events in Japan:
Environmental Protection Agency (radiological monitoring)
Nuclear Regulatory Commission (news releases)
International Atomic Energy Agency (information on the damaged reactors)
It is natural to be upset about the disaster in Japan and to be worried about threats to you and your loved ones. Feeling anxious about the unknown is normal and public health alerts can have powerful effects on people of all ages. While coping with these feelings during times of uncertainty can be challenging, please remember you are not alone.
Common stress reactions: Although people react in their own way, here are some reactions you might experience physical, emotional, mental, and behaviorial symptoms:
Problems with work or school
Troubling thoughts that won’t go away
Concern about health issues
Increased substance use
Excessive cleaning or washing
Being overly cautious, jumpiness
Shifts in priorities, worldview and appreciation of others can also occur. It is also normal to have no reaction at all.
Coping with these Reactions
People can take steps to help themselves, family members and each other cope with these stress reactions. Here is a list of self-help suggestions:
- Limit your exposure to graphic news stories: although it is difficult to resist the news, this can lead to stronger stress reactions. Consider turning off tv, and limiting exposure to internet news and videos, especially if you feel anxious after watching or if your sleep is affected.
- Get accurate, timely information from reliable sources. Educate yourself about the specific health hazards rather than jumping to worst case scenarios.
- Maintain your normal daily routine as much as possible. Don’t make big life changes.
- Experience your feelings—you have the right to have feelings even if you are not directly affected.
- Remind yourself that you are normal and having normal reactions.
- Talk with someone about your feelings, even if it is difficult.
- Stay in touch with family and friends.
- Academically, you may have trouble concentrating in class, taking notes, writing, focusing on reading and performing on tests. Talk to your professors and GSIs about extensions if necessary.
- Exercise, eat well and rest. Watch alcohol intake.
- Be good to yourself—do things that make you feel better. Take breaks, schedule pleasant activities, engaging in positive distracting activities (sports, hobbies, reading).
- Find strength and comfort in your spiritual and personal beliefs.
- Remember that each person can experience trauma differently and that you and others may have different needs at different times; try to be flexible.
“When in doubt… reach out”
- Intense feelings of anxiety or hopelessness
- Trouble performing daily activities
- Inability to care for self
- Suicidal or destructive thoughts
- Problematic use of alcohol/drugs
Counseling and Psychological Services (CPS) is available to all students needing support. Call 510-642-9494 or visit CPS at the Tang Center (3rd Floor) between 8am and 5pm Mon. – Fri. Counselors are available on a drop-in basis between 10am – 5pm. Counselors are available by phone after hours at (510)643-7197.
CARE Services is available for faculty and staff at (510)643-7754.
Many international, national and local organizations and funds have mobilized to provide relief to those affected by the unfolding disaster in Japan.
The Cal Japan Club and the Japanese Graduates and Researchers Society are among UC Berkeley groups encouraging the campus community to donate funds to authorized organizations so that “professionals can use the money to distribute what the victims really need.
See the UC Berkeley "How to Help Relief Organizations" website.