Latest global mental health statistic is a warning to workers abroad

According to a YouGov survey released in December 2020, suffering from mental health problems including depression and anxiety differentiates according to the country of residence. This is something businesses with overseas workers have to consider.

Sarah Dennis, Head of International at Towergate Health & Protection, comments that mental health issues have become a greater problem during the pandemic as workers have had to face additional challenges. They urge employers especially with workers abroad, to be mindful of the extra strain on those who are based overseas and to ensure they have a solid wellbeing program in place to prevent mental health problems.

The YouGov survey shows that people in Denmark, Hong Kong, and Singapore are least likely to admit they suffer from mental health problems. All three countries surveyed at 17 percent while people living in Australia, Indonesia, and the USA are most likely to report mental health issues, 35 percent, 34 percent, and 33 percent respectively.

To value mental health equally to physical health is a core concept put forward by mental health campaigners and the survey showed that, amongst others, Denmark which surveyed at 70 percent, is most likely to agree with that. While in the UAE only 48 percent value mental health equally to physical health.

The figures might show a reflection of cultural attitudes where some workers are more likely and willing to speak about mental health problems than others. Because of that, it is even more important that employers make support available as those struggling might not feel comfortable reporting it. The extra strain of mental health challenges workers abroad are facing during the pandemic includes not being able to see family and friends due to travel restrictions and lifestyle changes. A big part of working abroad is the new lifestyle to explore and this has been seriously curtailed for many under ongoing Covid-19 restrictions. Aiding mental health requires support for overseas workers particularly speaking to someone who understands the situation and has worked abroad is helpful.

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About Mette Larsen

ScandAsia Journalist • Scandinavian Publishing Co., Ltd. • Thailand

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