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(S1E1) Migration and mental health: a journey of hope, overcoming and connection

Let’s talk about the intersection of mental health and life abroad.

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In today’s globally connected world, migration has become a commonplace phenomenon. But have you ever paused to consider how migration might impact your mental health? 

In this first episode, I shed light on how relocating can significantly influence our mental well-being. The stresses of navigating unfamiliar environments, learning a new language, or acclimatising to a different culture can be quite challenging. Recognising these stress cues is a crucial first step in addressing and managing our mental health when living abroad.

The variables of relocating to a new country are numerous and diverse. They can range from finding housing and employment to gaining access to services, trusting the system, and feeling integrated. These factors can contribute to a heightened sense of stress and, subsequently, impact mental health. Francesca highlights the importance of understanding these variables and their potential effects on our mental well-being.

While the episode emphasises the struggles associated with migration, it also underscores stories of hope and overcoming (as per the overarching theme of the “We are here, too” podcast). The ability to foster connections, communicate effectively, and adapt to a new environment can help battle feelings of alienation and isolation. 

As an experienced counsellor, I delve into how we can monitor our mental health by highlighting stress-related cues, including relational, existential, physical, emotional, cognitive, and behavioural signs. Understanding these cues can help us recognise when our mental health might be impacted and seek help accordingly.

Need support exploring these cues? Work with me

But why is it crucial to discuss mental health, particularly in a cross-cultural context?

Talking about mental health can combat alienation and foster a sense of connection. It’s not just about voicing struggles; it’s also about sharing stories of resilience, hope, and togetherness. This exchange can provide solace, validation, and reassurance that one is not alone in their experiences.

I also recognise that mental health discussions aren’t the only way forward. Non-verbal methods, such as engaging in art, listening to music, or even socialising, can be therapeutic and supportive. However, initiating conversations about mental health can provide a platform for shared experiences, contributing to a sense of community and belonging.

In conclusion, this episode serves as a reminder that while migration can present significant challenges to mental health, it also offers opportunities for personal growth, resilience, and connection. Whether you’ve moved countries yourself or are intrigued by mental health discussions, this episode provides a valuable perspective on the interplay between migration and mental health.

This episode is a call to keep mental health conversations alive to continue learning, sharing, and supporting each other on our respective mental health journeys.

Want to read more about this topic?

→ Exploring the emotional toll of moving abroad: what does it look like?

→ Mental health for foreigners: a vital discussion for improving wellbeing abroad

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