Expats' Mental Health Claims Rise

7 July 2017

Employees on international assignments or who relocate on their own are experiencing more bouts with depression or anxiety, according to new research.

According to international medical insurer Aetna, there has been a sharp rise in mental health issues, specifically depression and anxiety, among expatriates around the world. Between 2014 and 2016, there was an average 28 percent increase in the insurance provider's mental health claims in Europe, Southeast Asia, the Americas, and the Middle East and Africa.

The report reveals some startling facts, including: Europe had the biggest claims increase (33 percent) compared to the Middle East and Africa (28 percent); the Americas (26 percent) and Southeast Asia (19 percent).

The research also found that only 6 percent of expats were concerned about mental health before moving to their new assignment. Once they get there, the top five pressure points for international assignees are challenges of a new job (62.8 percent); inability to take part in activities available at home (44.6 percent); loss of a support network (42.8 percent); language and other cultural difficulties (40.7 percent) and worker's spouse not able to find work (37.9 percent).

Many expats (without trailing dependants) also felt they had trained themselves to be lonely, a key attribute people needed in order to survive in new surroundings.

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