By Galina Hitching
You may or may not be familiar with some of the more overt mental health challenges in East Asia. The high suicide rate or the hikikomori of Japan. The PTSD and referred trauma of Cambodians who survived the Khmer Rouge, or are raised by those who did. The sexually exploited across East Asia.
The picture of trauma and pain can become overwhelming. Yet, it can also become subjective. While each country may face different challenges because of their culture and history, pain and suffering are not unique to a country or place.
Neither is the reality of mental health. We have all experienced pain and suffering. Even if you don’t personally have mental health challenges, I can guarantee that you know someone who does. Statistically, you actually know a lot of people who do.
So, as we pray for East Asia, let us do so with compassion and with hope. There is hope for those facing mental health challenges in East Asia because we serve a loving God who binds up the brokenhearted. He is the Good Shepherd. Let us be his hands and feet.
Highlighting Japan, Cambodia and Human Trafficking
Choosing three areas to highlight in this article was not easy. In no way are we attempting to exclude or ignore other areas of East Asia with mental health challenges. It is our hope that you will find this article to be a helpful starting point to pray for mental health in East Asia.
How to Pray for Japan
- Although Japan’s overall suicide rates have been steadily declining, youth suicide has increased dramatically.
- Suicide is one of the leading causes of death of children in Japan.
- Japan has the 3rd highest rate of suicide in the developed world.
- Hikikomori are individuals who refuse to leave their room or house and withdraw from life.
- Hikikomori mainly affects the male population with the average age being 31.
- Both youth suicide and hikikomori have been linked to bullying at school.
Father God, we ask you to have your loving hand on the Japanese people. You see each person and you know them by name. May they come before you collectively, but also individually. Please create divine encounters for those who are considering suicide. We ask you to intervene on behalf of their lives. Stand as a wall against the enemy and overwhelm them with your loving acceptance.
We pray for the hikikomori who have withdrawn into their rooms and others who are tormented by life. May you become their place of safety and of peace. May they find their identity and belonging in you.
We ask for compassionate and gracious workers who will listen without judgment.
In Jesus’ name, Amen.
How to Pray for Cambodia
- During the Khmer Rouge nearly two million Cambodians lost their lives.
- A high number of the current population suffers from PTSD, stress, depression and anxiety.
- There is a high rate of domestic violence, drug use and human trafficking which all have an impact on mental health.
You are such a good Father to us. You see the pain of those who survived the Khmer Rouge. You know every horror, every betrayal, every loss. You see the trauma their bodies and brains are trapped by. Father, God, please set them free. May the Cambodian people begin to find healing from the trauma of the past that they continue to experience in the present.
We ask you to send your Spirit as a gentle breeze to comfort and quiet their hearts. They need your nearness to them. May they know you are real, and true, and faithful. May they sense your hand on their lives. We ask for skilled workers who can walk with these precious people and help them overcome the mental health challenges they face.
In Jesus’ name, Amen.
How to Pray about Human Trafficking
- According to the UNODC, 30% of human trafficking victims are children.
- Sexual exploitation ranks highest on the forms of human trafficking.
- Although human trafficking convictions are increasing, so are the overall rates of human trafficking.
Father we intercede for those in East Asia facing human trafficking. Our hearts our broken by the pain of human trafficking and sex trafficking.
We cry out to you on behalf of the women, boys and girls who face the mental health challenges caused by the deep wounds of being sexually exploited. Please place a hedge of protection about them. We ask you to draw them to you as your children. Draw them with gentleness and lead them to a place where they experience safety in you. May they learn to trust you and may you heal the wounds of their minds and bodies.
We ask for more workers to love those who are trapped in the sex industry and those who have escaped. We ask you to give those workers endurance and your strength as they seek to facilitate healing for these survivors.
In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Join Hands with Us
As an organization, we continue to move forward with the hope of Jesus Christ. Today, we have highlighted three ways for you to pray. Yet, this is just the tip of the iceberg. Please continue to join us in prayer as we seek to bring help to those facing mental health challenges in East Asia.
If you would like to find more ways you can pray, you can download the prayer App or visit the OMF prayer site.
“ heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.” Psalm 147:3, ESV
Galina Hitching is a writer, artist, and wellness geek. She learned more from growing up around missions and traveling as an adult non-profit worker than she did getting her degree in Communication. Midway, Galina took a detour from her career by working as a Serve Asia volunteer. Today, she is using her four years’ experience in marketing and communication for the Great Commission.
Galina Hitching is a writer, artist, and wellness geek. She learned more from growing up around missions and traveling as a non-profit worker than she did getting her degree in Communication. Midway, Galina took a detour from her career by working as a Serve Asia volunteer. Today, she is using her four years’ experience in marketing and communication for the Great Commission.
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