Highlighting the impact that the global pandemic has had on the mental health of families living abroad, William Russell’s survey of over 1,100 expatriates living in five countries – Australia, Hong Kong, the UAE, the UK and the US – between 3 and 7 May 2021 found that that 38 per cent feel the quality of their mental health has declined during the Covid-19 pandemic.
And when asked about the resources available to them in their country of residence, William Russell survey respondents were by and large disappointed by the services they had access to: only 10 per cent said that they felt ‘confident’ about the professional mental health resources available, while 22 per cent said that they were ‘sceptical’, 46 per cent were ‘uncertain’ and 11 per cent reported themselves as feeling ‘unsatisfied’.
Language and cultural barriers to mental health support
Commenting on the findings, Inez Cooper, Managing Director and co-Founder of William Russell, said: “This shows the importance of providing mental health resources dedicated to supporting expatriates, who may feel the effects of events, such as the pandemic, very keenly. Isolation, language and culture barriers and lack of local knowledge may prevent many expatriates from seeking the mental health support they need.
“The figures cover May 2021, but we do not know what they may look like later this and next year. This Mental Health Awareness Week, William Russell urges all of us to take stock of their own mental health. Our international health insurance supports mental as well as physical health, and we urge anyone who feels the quality of their mental health has declined to make use of their cover and seek the support they need.”