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Sunday, May 20, 2007

The Need of Careful Assessment of Hikikomori rather than loose "expert's" opinion

The loose definition of "Hikikomori", and simplistic in putting on the caps of "causation factors" , "behavior patterns", "emotion inclination" to them is irresponsible.

A clear definition of "Hikikomori" needs to be define. A careful research needs to be carry out to test the theories and hypothesis that one made. The celebration of the event, and authors or caregivers because of the "unusual", "unique" phenomena, and tends to pin down one nation, one culture, probably slapping the nation on both side of her cheeks, is not sustainable in the long run, and the mentioned cause and factors remained no weight in public health intervention or policy implementation.

Social withdrawal, NEETs, depression, schizoprenia are all differet thing. In terms of sociology, or mental health or public health, these terms and needs of intervention need to be spell out clearly.

I celebrate the fact that people are taking concern on this event, and these people comes from different angle. Psychiatrist, economist, journalist, clinical psychologist, social workers, volunteers from different religion background, each tried to gage the problem in their own perspective. And of course works were motivated by different interest.

I believe that as a public health worker, we need to seriously and carefully look into these claims, and the magnitude of effect that had occured through media publications, voices and academic reports in the recent ten years. If the majority of these people who entrapped in social withdrawal are youths, it could become a major problem in the future 20-30 years. The burden on healthcare increase, the GDP could be affected, the single unmarry rate could increase, and so on.

It is important at this stage, that we need to ask these questions:
"What is happening here?"
"Who are being affected?"
"When did this start happening?"
"Where are the places having the problem? Does the phenomena has an origin? Or its a natural phenomena all across?"
"Why is it important?"
"How people are coping with this?"

These are basically my questions. However, with the loose cry, and aggresive claims over the issue with strong prejudice and individual perceptions make the case far more interesting and challenging.

In order to answer these questions, perhaps we need people who are likely minded to start accessing the questions from different angle. Only thourough examination of the phenomena with careful assessments on bits and pieces will carry weight and thus expand its influential effect. Generalisability of a theory is important to understand the phenomena and generate effective intervention or prevention scheme.

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