Ueno Zoo reminds youths that they don’t need anyone’s permission to run away from a dangerous situation.
For everyone who loves summer, the end of August can feel a bit melancholy. Some people’s anxiety, though, goes far deeper than being unhappy about beach season ending.
As summer vacation ends, so too do the weeks of respite from the pressures of academic requirements and adolescent social circles. That prospect can send some students into a spiral of depression. Some make the tragic decision to end their lives rather than bear their deep emotional pain, and Japan routinely sees a rise in youth suicides at the start of September.
That no doubt had something to do with the timing of this Tweet from Ueno Zoo, the largest zoo in Tokyo, which was sent out on August 30.
学校に行きたくないと思い悩んでいるみなさんへ アメリカバクは敵から逃げる時は、一目散に水の中へ飛び込みます 逃げる時に誰かの許可はいりません。脇目も振らず逃げて下さい もし逃げ場所がなければ、動物園にいらっしゃい。人間社会なんぞに… twitter.com/i/web/status/9…—
上野動物園［公式］ (@UenoZooGardens) August 30, 2017
The tweet reads:
To everyone who’s feeling distressed about going back to school,
When running away from predators, the American tapir dives straight into the water.
You don’t need anyone’ permission to run away. Please,when you need to run, run.
If you have nowhere to run to, please come to the zoo. There are many animals, who aren’t bound by the unhappy aspects of human society, waiting for you.
The invitation echoes one which was sent out by the public library of Kamakura, a city in Kanagawa Prefecture, which also encouraged distraught youths to spend the day at the facility reading if they needed a place of refuge.
The Ueno Zoo tweet was met with appreciative approval online, with some feeling that even adults can benefit from a calming visit to the zoo. “I’m moved that they’re being supportive of children and students. Thank you, Ueno Zoo,” said one commenter. “I’m an adult, but the next time I feel emotionally exhausted, or like my brain is going to seize up, I’ll remember that I can escape to the zoo.”
However, while watching animals frolic can be a soothing salve for the psyche, as always we urge anyone dealing with depression to seek help from a qualified medical professional as well.