Study suggests that migrants suffer from extreme stress

Study suggests that migrants suffer from extreme stress

Study suggests that migrants suffer from extreme stress

A recent study cites that the demands on migrants made by unfamiliar cultural and work pressures result in seriously high levels of stress affecting general health.

The paper, published in the International Journal of Mental Health, cites the demands on new immigrants of unfamiliar languages, strange cultures, working practices and other aspects of everyday life in a new country as causing long-term risks to mental health.

According to the study, internalised stress often goes unrecognised, and does the most harm to expats newly arrived in their host country. Internalised stress damages the immune system as well as relationships both at work and within the family unit and, dependent on the host country, the correct treatments and medications may not be understood or easily available. It helps if those suffering have overseas health insurance but, in many developing countries, severe stress is not recognised as a threat to overall health.

The study revealed that more than 50 per cent of the expats surveyed were at high risk of depression or chronic anxiety, and were at almost three times the risk of their counterparts in their home countries. Expats on overseas contracts had failure rates ranging from 16 to 40 per cent on average, with the issue affecting their families as well.

Language issues were paramount, followed by cultural differences and the difficulty of integrating, especially in Asian and Middle Eastern countries. Insecurities over visa and work permits and changes in immigration systems were another major cause of stress.

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