Likewise, 37 per cent of the non-native residents surveyed said that they were feeling pessimistic, compared to just 31 per cent of locals, and only 17 per cent of those living abroad were said to be ‘flourishing’, compared with 24 per cent of local respondents. The research further revealed that international residents lacked support when it came to mental health and wellbeing, contributing to their pessimistic views on their future.
AXA’s research surveyed 11,000 people across 11 countries in Europe and Asia, of which 13.5 per cent were non-native individuals. The new report examines how we react to stress, how mind health differs by age and gender, and what we can do as individuals to improve our sense of happiness and wellbeing. When asking the reasons for expats’ distress, AXA found that many were concerned about making ends meet. Around a third reported that their financial security (35 per cent) and job and income security (31 per cent) had a negative impact on their health and wellbeing. Others were concerned about their career prospects, with two in five (39 per cent) feeling uncertain about the future of their career and more than a quarter (27 per cent) losing all or part of their job as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Impact of pandemic severe on expats
Rebecca Freer, Head of Global Healthcare Marketing at AXA Global Healthcare, commented: “It’s unsurprising that many expats are struggling with their mental health, given the tremendous and rapid changes we’ve all experienced due to the pandemic. We mustn’t underestimate the impact that being far from home, friends, family, and familiarity can have during such difficult times. However, managing mental health isn’t just for times of crisis. It’s important that we make regular efforts to monitor our feelings and take action to make small improvements in everyday life too.”
More than half (59 per cent) of expats reported a stress level of more than five on a scale of zero to 10 over the last 12 months, compared to 55 per cent of local nationals. The report also found that over a quarter (28 per cent) of expats are currently experiencing at least one mental health condition, with depression (13 per cent) and anxiety (11 per cent) being the most common.
In terms of seeking mental health support, three in five (59 per cent) agreed that they would turn to friends and family, as only a third (35 per cent) felt that the public healthcare system in their country provides timely support to their people with mental health conditions. Only 45 per cent claimed to have a great support network, compared with 52 per cent of local nationals.
Freer concluded: “With large numbers of expats worrying about their finances and career, we need to ensure they have the support they need to keep their mental health in check. Throughout the pandemic, virtual tools, have become widely adopted. We hope that organisations will continue to roll these virtual support tools out, as many have been doing over the past two years, and that those expats who are struggling will feel as they have a place to turn for help.”