More than a third of expats feel their mental health has worsened during the pandemic, international insurer William Russell has revealed in a worldwide survey.
When William Russell asked over 1,100 expatriates in May about how the COVID-19 pandemic has affected their mental health, 38% felt the quality of their mental health has declined during the COVID-19 pandemic and 44% would have preferred to be in their home country over this period.
Released in Mental Health Awareness Week 2021, these results highlight an under-represented effect of the pandemic - the impact it has had on the mental health of families living abroad, Will Russell said.
Just over a quarter, 26%, said they had experienced a slight worsening while 12% said their mental health was significantly worse.
William Russell also asked expats about the quality of mental health services they have found available in their country of residence which further revealed that only 10% of respondents said they felt "confident" about the professional mental health resources available. On the other end of the scale, 22% said they were "sceptical," 46% "uncertain" and 11% reported themselves as feeling "unsatisfied."
When it came to talking with fellow expatriates and seeking social support, the results were mixed. 25% of respondents said expats in their region were discussing mental health less often, while 29% felt that their expat community had started to discuss mental health more frequently.
Overall, 31% felt expats in their region were "more concerned" about mental health.
Inez Cooper, managing director and co-founder of William Russell.com, 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."
The survey of 1,184 randomly selected expats in Australia, Hong Kong, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, United States aged 16 and upwards, was carried out by eOpinion Research on behalf of William Russell between 3 - 7 May 2021.