Fight Suicide, Mental Health Stigma By Joining TELL’s Tokyo Tower Climb 2018

Get Those Feet Climbing, Save A Life

How many lives can 600 steps up to the top of Tokyo Tower save?

Following massive success at its inaugural event last year, TELL’s Tokyo Tower Climb is back this September, and yes, you are all encouraged to jump in (i.e. climb) and help support the organization’s cause: prevent suicide and provide mental health support to Japan’s international community.

Individuals, groups, corporate and school teams will gather at Tokyo Tower on September 9 from early in the morning and climb the 600 steps up to the top of capital’s iconic landmark on foot to show their support for the organization’s work. By joining this event, you will be contributing to raising funds for TELL and for spreading awareness of the existing stigmas against mental problems.

Why is TELL organizing this event?

By organizing this event, TELL aims to mobilize the community to support their cause of preventing suicide; raise money to fund their volunteer-staffed Lifeline, and let suicidal individuals know where to reach out for help.

The event takes place on World Suicide Prevention Day. On the day of the event TELL will be joining people around the globe in taking a step to remove stigmas around mental health through various events. The World Health Organisation (WHO) estimates that every year approximately one million people die from suicide around the world, and the number of those who have attempted it — or have thought about it — goes beyond one’s ability to measure.

Nearly 300 people joined TELL’s first Tokyo Tower Climb in September 2017.

In Japan, though declining in recent years, during fiscal 2017, a total of 21,321 people took their own lives — that is, an average of 57 people a day. TELL, which has 45-years experience providing support and English counseling services for mental healthcare and suicide prevention to Japan’s international community, believes that “the key to prevention is recognizing the warning signs and risk factors and knowing how to help.” TELL receives approximately 8,000 calls a year from across Japan from English-speaking expats and bilingual Japanese nationals who don’t have other outlets to express their struggles anonymously.  

What did Tokyo Tower Climb 2017 achieve?

Last year’s event, the first of its kind in Tokyo, brought nearly 300 people to Tokyo Tower, all of whom finished the challenge successfully (some even more so with a record of 2:06 minutes climb time…). The event raised a total of ¥1.7 million, which was collected through participants’ registration fees, fundraising and on-the-day donations.

The funds raised through the event were directed specifically at TELL’s suicide prevention activities in the following way:

  • ¥600,000 were used to fund TELL’s newly launched 24/7 online chat service (targeted at users who do not wish to call for help but would rather reach out through chat)
  • ¥100,000 for back and front-end work on TELL’s website to integrate the new chat function
  • ¥1,000,000 for Lifeline Volunteer Training for Autumn 2017 and Spring 2018, through which TELL was able to sustain over 100 lifeline volunteers  

“The impact of the event has been really significant,” Sam Annesley, TELL’s Executive Director tells Savvy Tokyo. “Through introducing chat, we were able to offer 24-hour support for the first time in TELL’s history. The average age of people who engage via chat is 30 and under, as opposed to the phone line which is 40 and over. Most chatters say they have not and would not use the line, so it’s great to see that we are reaching a new demographic.”

How can I join the event?

The challenge is a one-at-a-time trial for up to 500 participants, spanning 600 steps from the base of Tokyo Tower to the Observation Deck. You can join the event individually, as a team with friends and family, as a corporate team (as Savvy did last year), or as a school under the School Cup category, which starts from this year.

To join the event, simply register from TELL’s page and start raising funds until the day of the event. All proceeds from this event (including registration fees and on the day donations) will go toward supporting the work of TELL.  

Under the theme “Give Hearts For Life,” this year’s event will introduce the concept of “orange hearts,” which will be used to inspire people to physically show support for mental health awareness. Orange is the official color of Suicide Prevention Day — and Tokyo Tower.

And what’s in for you? A great way to spend your Sunday, good exercise, cross off a major challenge on your bucket list, and the gift of knowing that you’re doing something good for the community. That, plus a completion certificate — and a few memorable shots on Tokyo Tower’s rooftop! (And a special prize if you dress to impress like the gentleman below.) 

Climbing in style: The winner of Tokyo Tower Climb’s Best Dressed Climber Prize 2017.

Though joining a one-time event will not find the solution for people with grave emotional problems, more people taking part in it is a step forward, an acknowledgment of the fact that we are concerned. If you believe in this, step up and give this event a try. 

The Deets

TELL Tokyo Tower Climb 2018

When: Sun, September 9, 2018
Time: 7:30 a.m.-11 a.m. Registration opens at 7 a.m.. Climbing (regular teams) starts at 8:30 a.m.
Where: Tokyo Tower, 4-2-8 Shibakoen, Minato-ku, Tokyo
Registration Cost: Adults: ¥4,000, Children (4-13): ¥2,500, Corporate Cup Team: ¥15,000, School Cup Team: ¥12,000. Each entry includes: Event towel, completion certificate.

For more information on the event, see here.