Research from AXA Global Healthcare reveals that taking on an international assignment has been found to have a positive impact on employees’ mental health. In fact, of the 500 international workers who were surveyed in seven different countries, just 10 per cent said that working abroad has had a negative impact on their mental health.
Key points that AXA’s research also include:
- The more assignments abroad, the better: 48 per cent of those who have done either two or three placements said that international working has had a positive impact on their mental health; which rose to 52 per cent for those who had completed either four or five assignments; and increased again to 61 per cent for those who have completed more than six placements.
- Employers could do more to support employees’ mental health: Three-quarters (73 per cent) of those surveyed agreed that their employer recognises mental health is as important as physical health, but two-thirds (64 per cent) said that their employer could do more to support their mental health, while half (50 per cent) went so far as to say that their employer will only offer mental health support in response to a crisis or significant event.
- Employers have yet to recognise that they need to do more: Nine in 10 human resources decision-makers (87 per cent) said that their organisation recognises mental health is as important as physical health, while 88 per cent believe that their organisation is proactive when it comes to mental health support
Bridging the ‘disconnect’ between employees and their employers
“It’s heartening to see that so many international assignees have, on the whole, found working abroad to be a positive experience,” said Andy Edwards, Global Head of International Healthcare, AXA Global Healthcare. However, Edwards added that the ‘disconnect’ apparent between employees and their employers could be down insufficient communication from employers about exactly what support was available.
He added: “Putting mental health at the centre of a wellbeing strategy for international workers – one which includes proactive communications – may be a good way to quickly bridge this gap. So, too, is looking at services that offer proactive pathways into mental health support.”
AXA’s new proposition to give globally mobile employees better access to mental health services
“At AXA Global Healthcare, we’re piloting a new mind health proposition, which is fully integrated with our virtual doctor service to give members one point of access for both physical and mental health advice,” said Edwards. “Given the unquestionable impact that a new assignment has on international workers’ lifestyle and wellbeing, a strategy such as this would have significant business value.”