With many Western companies continuing to conduct international business and opening new offices in fast-growing economies such as China, the Gulf States, Southeast Asia or Africa, there is growing concern among psychologists about the mental health of expats. Even if you live in another country, your own problems do not just disappear. Depression does not need a visa. And sometimes new problems arise abroad as well.
Studies show that depression among expats is common
Dipped in a completely new environment from home, some expats face challenges that lead to isolation and dull distress. A survey conducted by ORC Worldwide (1) in 2007 has shown that it can be very difficult for expats and expatriates to find a work-life balance. The difficulties identified by the expats in this survey were:
- Challenge of a new job (62.8%)
- Inability to take part in activities available at home (44.6%)
- Loss of support network (42.8%)
- Language and other cultural difficulties (40.7%)
- Spouse unable to find work (37.9%)
Ten years after this survey, a study recently published by Aetna International (2017) (2) looks at the psychological problems of people living abroad. Meaningful sentences like “breaking the silence and ending the stigma” are used.
Studies of American workers, domestic workers showed that expats showed signs of anxiety, burnout and depression 2.5 times more frequently. When these expats were asked what they lack most compared to their homeland, most reported missing their families and friends, which of course is an important psychological antidote to depression, burnout, and other mental illnesses.
In case of depression, expats are in a “silent crisis”
Sometimes trapped in an environment they may not even have chosen themselves, expats may be under tremendous pressure due to relocation and work pressure. When stress leads to excessive work and chronic anxiety and depression, expats find themselves in a silent crisis in which they can hardly address anyone. The on-site psychosocial care can either be non-existent or very poor and is usually in a different language. Not to mention shame towards the employer or other expats in the community. Many expats are dedicated employees, single-minded and set high goals for themselves. Since it can easily come to ask yourself too high demands and thus slowly but surely burn out.
Online therapy for emigrants in depression, burnout and more
Many expatriates and expats have never heard of online therapy. There is the opportunity to speak with a psychologist via video call, chat, email or phone calls.
As an online psychologist and expat, I’ve been working with expatriates for almost 5 years, helping them managing stress, depression, burnout and social isolation.
If you are an expat or know an expat who suffers from anxiety, depression, burnout or other mental health problems, it is important that you know that as online psychologists and psychotherapists, we can help find the right online therapist and help you regain control of your life and find the balance between your life, your personal goals, and your work responsibilities.
See my page for Psychotherapy for Expats.