Fight Youth Suicides, Mental Health Stigma By Joining TELL’s Tokyo Tower Climb 2019
Climb Up Stairs, 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 8 from early in the morning and climb the 600 steps up to the top of the 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 close to World Suicide Prevention Day (September 10). 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.
This year, TELL is focusing on reducing youth suicides. Japan saw its worst year in 2018, hitting a record high of 568 young people under the age of 20 taking their own lives. The number of youth struggling with mental health issues is also growing on a global scale—50 percent of all mental illnesses occur before the ripe age of 14 and 75 percent by the age of 24.
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 nearly 9,000 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 2018 achieve?
Last year’s event was a completely sold-out event with 500 participants joining in on the climb up the iconic tower. The event raised a total of ¥4 million (¥2.3 million more than 2017!), which was collected through the 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:
- ¥500,000 for Lifeline Volunteer Training for Fall 2018
- ¥700,000 went towards operation costs of the 24/7 online chat service (targeted at younger users who do not wish to call for help but would rather reach out through chat)
- ¥2,800,000 for all other Lifeline operations (includes expanding the volunteer base and support services all throughout Japan)
“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 the Savvy Tokyo team will be doing again this 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 continue the concept of “orange hearts” from last year, 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.)
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.
TELL Tokyo Tower Climb 2019
When: Sun, September 8, 2019 (registration deadline is Sat, August 31, 2019)
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.