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TELL Update from the Board Chair


In April 2016 I was elected Chair of the TELL Board of Directors, and published a note in this forum to thank our outgoing Chair, Craig Saphin, and to outline objectives for my own tenure. Just over a year later, it seems a good time for an update about TELL.

First of all, we are in transition. Roberto De Vido has resigned from the position as Executive Director, effective May 31th, 2017. Roberto has been leading the organization for the last 2 years and has devoted tremendous amount of time and effort to manage the challenges we have faced. Roberto has implemented a more streamlined management structure and has substantially improved the communication with our supporters. I sincerely thank him for everything he has done for the organization and wish him all the best in his new endeavors.

TELL is still searching for a successor, so in the interim, Director of Clinical Services Michael Nevans will take on some of the position’s responsibilities for three months. Vickie Skorji has also agreed to step up to oversee the Outreach and Administration functions which are so important in ensuring we connect with our Community and use our funds effectively and efficiently. Supporting Michael and Vickie, TELL board members Terry White and Timothy Langley will spend a day every week inside the office in pursuit of TELL objectives, supporting Michael and Vickie, preparing the organization for a new Executive Director, and addressing/solving some of the issues dogging our organizational dynamics.

At TELL Counseling, Michael has made excellent progress on a number of fronts, streamlining processes in the clinic, and building relationships with the international business community, which has duty of care for its employees and their families.

At the same time, operationally the Lifeline continues to provide outstanding service to the community, and Lifeline Director Vickie Skorji is continuing to pursue the implementation of a chat-based Lifeline service that will augment our existing voice line and should allow us to provide 24/7 Lifeline response at least part of the time by the end of this year. This represents a huge step forward for TELL. Thanks to our volunteer phone counselors and Vickie (and Jane), Lifeline coverage is outstanding and continues to improve. If we can bridge our late night coverage gap, we will be able to help many more people.

TELL is Japan’s premier provider of mental health services in English and has been serving the community for over 40 years. Our Lifeline crisis hotline provides critical mental health services to thousands of people in need each year. Initially foreigner-focused, now around 50% of our Lifeline callers and TELL Counseling clients are Japanese. We are working to extend awareness of our services throughout the Japanese archipelago via marketing (Facebook advertising is important and cost-effective for us), distance counseling (and we are trying to figure out how to offer appointment-based clinical services in Okinawa) and other initiatives (please see two interviews – here and here – with Lifeline Director Vickie Skorji, conducted by TELL board member Timothy Langley).

As you know, TELL is a non-profit organization and relies heavily on donations from the community we serve. We are thankful for your support in years past, and hope you will continue to support us in whatever way you can.

Thank you for all your continued support of TELL.

Anne Bille

Board Chair