Mental Health Around the World
- There are now over 66.2 million expats worldwide, this is set to reach 87.5 million by 2021.
- 300 million people suffer from depression globally.
- 260 million suffer from anxiety disorders worldwide.
- The number of mental health workers per 100,000 persons ranges from less than 1 in low-income countries to over 50 in high-income countries.
Top Expat Stressors
Expats are 2.5 times more likely to experience anxiety/ depression than domestic workers. Why is this?
- 52% miss their personal support network.
- 40% worry about their future finances.
- 26% struggle making new friends.
- 26% struggle with the language barrier.
- 22% suffer from culture shock.
- 15% say their loved ones are unhappy with the move.
(Source: Aetna International)
Maintaining Good Mental Health Abroad
Don’t Overwork Yourself
- Expats work an average of 13.4 more hours than people doing similar jobs at home.
- Prevent burn-out by switching off the “24-7 business mentality.”
- Don’t bring your work phone home.
- Avoid checking your email on weekends.
- Instead, use your free time to socialise and to do healthy activities.
- Working abroad can be isolating, so be sure to dedicate time to making friends.
- Don’t shy away work events and network groups.
- Try out apps such as MeetUp to connect with new people.
- Take the lead on communicating with home.
- Schedule regular one-to-one interactions with your loved ones.
General Mental Health Tips
- Limit alcohol consumption.
- Aim for 8 hours sleep every night.
- Take care of your body – exercise & eat well.
- Learn how to deal with stress.
- Don’t be afraid to seek professional help.
Preparing to Move Abroad
Just 6% of expats are concerned about mental health before relocating.
Know Before You Go!
Research the following to ease the relocation process:
- Ways to make friends.
- Work & social culture.
- Ways to stay in contact with home.
- Potential stress outlets.
- Check in with yourself and know your limits.
- Keep a journal to help record and recognise your stressors.
- Learn to recognise the warning signs of stress, anxiety and depression.
- Keep up routines that make you feel stable.
- Pack a few familiar items from home to help you relax after a challenging day.
Finding Support Services Abroad
These allow you to connect with specialists in your home country via video-chat. You will need to ensure that the counsellor is licensed. Check the service’s privacy policies.
Research online using Google and the International Therapists’ Directory. When searching for a counsellor abroad, try the following for referrals:
- Your embassy
- Your work/ HR Department
- Other expatriates (particularly medical professionals)
Video produced by Hansen & Company.