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Expat’s mental health

Recent studies have revealed that expatriate depression is becoming more common, and the issue will only continue to rise. Up against rigorous business agendas, tiresome flights and settling into an entirely new environment and adapting to a new way of life, expatriate mental health can be forgotten or ignored. Not only does poor mental health affect the well-being of the employees relocating, but the success of the business they work for. In order to effectively sustain good expat mental health to avoid risk and lower international business cost, here is what we suggest.

Increased risk

The main reason why expats are at risk of mental-health problems is due to the separation from family and friends whilst overseas. While we often forget or take for granted that our loved ones provide invaluable support in times of difficulty, it is only when expats move away from the ones that mean the most to them do they realise how much they depended on them, which has the potential to increase anxiety and stress.

As well as living alone without family and friends by their side, expats may struggle to adjust to a new culture or language, and being an expert in your business field does not guarantee success abroad. Additionally, the interpersonal skills required at home become even more significant when joining a new workplace, more so if you don’t speak the language or understand the cultural etiquette of your new home country, which, in turn, has the potential to impact confidence and mental health of an outsider.

International business cost

While it’s great to see businesses across the world becoming increasingly aware of the effects poor employee mental health can have, there is still a long way to go to ensure total wellness. To no surprise, the cost of ignoring mental health can be detrimental, which is why after long consideration, ensuring relocating employees lifestyle change is working for them is vital for both the productivity and mental health of those involved – including the family of the employee who has moved abroad.

Think ahead

To make a real difference to relocating employee mental health, employers should strive to think ahead. In order for this to be successful, employers should take the appropriate action easy be able to tackle problems as they arise, as well as encourage broader employee wellness to reduce the risk of these issues becoming apparent in the first place. Businesses can take steps to help employees prepare for their new life. For example, offering a paid short trial period to distinguish whether the move is suitable for them can be beneficial in the long-run.

Employee assistance programmes

Today, several businesses provide structured employee assistance programmes (EAP) to support employees who have moved. Other ways employers can offer support at each stage include counselling sessions, encouraging staff to join local support networks or designing a ‘buddy’ system to connect staff with people who have knowledge in overseas relocation.

Working together

Companies are not alone when it comes to fighting the issue of mental health and equipping their employees in advance for work and life abroad. It is vital to work together because although the value of supporting relocating employees doesn’t go amiss, supporting their families during this emotional time is just as important. Businesses that relocate an employee’s spouse or family must provide honest relocation assistance in order to help good expat mental health.

Mental health issues are the most common illness for people of working age, and in order to sustain good expat mental health, it is vital to support staff and help them maintain a healthy work/life balance. While good well-being is about feeling highly valued, it’s also about sustaining employee mental health in order to maintain high levels of productivity in the work place. Moving abroad is hard enough without leaving family behind. Businesses planning to relocate an employee abroad instead of hiring a new member of staff, must ensure their mental-health is a priority and seek out those that may be suffering in silence.

For professional assistance on all your employee relocation needs, contact us today for information on our award-winning moving services.

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