Working Abroad? 3 Mental Health Tips for Expats

Expatriates might suffer from mental health issues as a result of living abroad. Studies have shown that expats suffer from depression more frequently than those living at home. Being able to live and work abroad can be immensely rewarding and challenging at the same time. According to recent research, approximately half of US expats studied were at higher risk of anxiety and depression than their US counterparts.

People usually won’t be able to use their existing health insurance plan when they leave their home country. Therefore, one must find an international health insurance plan to remain covered in case of an emergency. The insurance coverage for these people is provided by expats’ insurance policies, also called International Private Medical Insurance (IPMI).

IMAGE CAPTION: Mental Health is written on the Laptop screen     
IMAGE SOURCE: Pexels         

Expats’ Mental Health: How to Prevent Risks?

A variety of factors contribute to mental health problems overseas, including personal, professional, and external factors. It is reasonable to expect a lifestyle change when confronted with such a challenge. The mental health of expats and migrants is poor enough as they face an overwhelming amount of loneliness.

3 Ways to Prevent Expatriation Risk

 Our imaginations often picture a life filled with exciting adventures and new learning experiences when considering living abroad. It is possible, if not handled correctly, for moving to another country to cause mental health complications. You can avoid this by enrolling in a timely manner with an expat insurance company. Here are some valuable recommendations to make sure you’re prepared so your time abroad will be a relaxing and stress-free one.

1. Ensure the Health of Your Expats

Expats’ health is often neglected more than it should be. Some companies do not conduct standard medical screenings that may detect medical needs proactively due to ‘respect for privacy’ or an inability to have ‘difficult’ conversations. As a business, the least that companies can do is to ensure that chronic diseases and medication needs are addressed assiduously. 

Companies often focus on providing their employees access to facilities and resources. Still, medical evaluations are the only way to truly prepare the assignee for the health-related risks they may face while on assignment. It might even be impossible to complete some assignments due to some medical conditions. In order to ensure a successful assignment, medications, referrals to doctors for ongoing treatment, and other resources must be in place before leaving the home country to avoid illness interfering with the process.

   IMAGE CAPTION:  A man sitting in a white shirt talking to His Physician   
         IMAGE SOURCE: Pexels

2. Get in Touch With New Friends

Meeting new people is a great benefit of moving abroad. Make friends with locals as well as other expats in order to succeed. Since expats have already moved abroad, it is easy to become friends with them. Additionally, making friends with locals will help you learn the language and show you around the best areas. Being active and meeting good people releases endorphins and improves your mental health.

3. A Psychological Support System

Expats who manage their relationships from afar often feel misunderstood, hurt, or under pressure. Expats and their spouses or partners should undergo a minimal medical evaluation as well as a mental health evaluation. The whole expatriation process could be undermined if mental health issues and learning disabilities are not addressed. Most expats place equal importance on their partner and family’s happiness. It is inevitable that a spouse or partner who does not work will experience loneliness and isolation. Success can be assured by establishing a structured support framework. 

Conclusion: 

To sum up, the findings of the study suggest that there are three key ways to reduce the risk of expatriates experiencing difficulties during expatriation. In particular, most expatriates who had health issues just at the beginning of their careers had almost no experience of working abroad before they had been exposed to their health issues. Some organizations did not complete an in-depth study of expat risk, which was quite surprising to find out from the research.

References:

  1. Cooper, W., 2022. Expats and Mental Health: How to Get Help? | William Russell. [online] William Russell. Available at: <https://www.william-russell.com/blog/expats-mental-health/> [Accessed 31 August 2022]., 
  2. Nham, M., 2022. Expat mental health: how to prevent risks? [online] Foyer Global Health. Available at: <https://www.foyerglobalhealth.com/blog/expat-mental-health-how-to-prevent-risks/> [Accessed 31 August 2022].
  3. Archive.hshsl.umaryland.edu. 2022. [online] Available at: <https://archive.hshsl.umaryland.edu/bitstream/handle/10713/7693/IJHP_Jan_2018_The-Mental-Health-Status-of-Expatriate-versus-US-Domestic-Workers-A-Comparative-Study.pdf?sequence=1&isAllowed=y> [Accessed 1 September 2022].
  4. Nham, M2022. 5 Ways to cope with Expat Homesickness. [online] Foyer Global Health. Available at: <https://www.foyerglobalhealth.com/blog/5-ways-to-cope-with-expat-homesickness/> [Accessed 31 August 2022].

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