Talking about your problems and fears is always a scary thing to do. Opening up and reaching out, especially to a stranger, requires a lot of courage, and things get even more complicated when you happen to live abroad, far from your old network of family and friends.

For 40 years, the Tokyo English Life Line (TELL) has tried to address this problem by providing support and counseling services for Japan's international community. Vickie Skorji, the new director of the Lifeline hot-line service, has played a pivotal role in its activities.

Born in Australia, Skorji, 53, was fascinated by neuropsychology in her youth, and in particular the anatomy of the brain.