Japan youngster starts volunteer online message counseling
TOKYO (AP) — Suicides are on the rise among Japanese teens and that worries 21-year-old Koki Ozora, who grew up depressed and lonely.
His nonprofit, A Place for You, is run entirely by volunteers. It offers a 24-hour text-messaging service, promising to answer every request — within five seconds for urgent ones.
The online Japanese-language chat service has grown since March to 500 volunteers, many living abroad in different time zones to provide counseling at nighttime when the need for suicide prevention runs highest.
What makes Ozora’s idea work during the pandemic is that it’s all virtual, including training for volunteers. It receives about 130 messages a day.