香山リカのココロの万華鏡:甘え?若年ホームレス /東京

May 06, 2012(Mainichi Japan)
Kaleidoscope of the Heart: Problem of young homeless not just a lack of drive
香山リカのココロの万華鏡:甘え?若年ホームレス /東京

The Big Issue, a project which supports homeless people by having them sell its magazines, is now known by many people. Recently The Big Issue foundation put together its second report on young homeless. In the introduction it is written that since the 2008 financial crisis, the number of homeless in Japan under 40 has sharply risen.

There are surely people who, hearing that there are those who are young and yet have no job or home, think, "They probably just don't have drive." From the report, however, the complicated circumstances of these young people can be seen, which cannot be set aside only by saying these people "don't have drive."

It may seem strange, but many homeless in their 20s and 30s have not only work experience, but experience as full-time employees. One young person mentioned in the report feared work after traumatic bullying at a previous job. "Of course it is unpleasant being homeless. But I have an equal amount of fear toward working," the person is quoted as saying.

Of course, I understand there are opinions that such people are not trying hard enough. However, I don't think that when they come across difficulties, things will somehow work out if they withstand the stress and seek help from those around them, because they no longer trust themselves or others.

Reading the report, one understands that for these people to get out of homelessness, they need more than just work, a home or money. They need to once more trust the world, other people and themselves, or nothing will start.

To restore this trust, first they need to think, "The world and life are not bad."

The Big Issue's foundation has created homeless soccer teams and had them participate in various competitions. Through this there have been young people who, feeling gratitude that there is a place they can relax, have taken the first steps toward recovery.


The report reads, "Young homelessness is not a unique phenomenon." In these hard times, everyone constantly lives with the possibility that their workplace or community will tell them, "You are no longer needed." I hope people will think of the young homeless who have lost their jobs, homes and social connections without saying, "They are just not trying hard enough."

(By Rika Kayama, psychiatrist)
毎日新聞 2012年05月01日 地方版

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