Do you know some people who seem to do everything well? They perform at a very high level, and nothing seems to overwhelm them. The truth is that we never know what is going on with people internally. Even the most highly effective international businesspeople face the challenges of maintaining good mental health. The rigors of global travel – while energizing and illuminating – also bring stresses and friction which can exacerbate existing issues or trigger new ones.
In the wake of the global pandemic, we have all been more focused on mental health. Corporations are more aware of employees’ needs and are finding ways to provide services and support. Individuals are paying more attention to their thresholds for anxiety and burnout, setting boundaries for a better balance between home life and work.
When that work takes you abroad, will you know where to seek out help when you need it?
Different cultures view mental health in a variety of ways, often reflected in the national health plan, insurance offerings, and company benefits. Sweden’s healthcare scheme makes care accessible through its national patient portal, 1177.se. Swedes embrace the concept that good mental health takes care and attention to avoid burnout and live an optimal life.
In many other places, social stigma surrounds mental illness, and the topic is often taboo. While care options may exist, potential patients often find obstacles to treatment and opt to do without. Nationwide campaigns for education, understanding, and tolerance are on the rise around the world, showing signs of change.
Even assuming adequate treatment is available, how does a newcomer find it? Your insurance company is a good place to start, for either in- or out-of-network providers. Language may be an issue, as well as finding a therapist who understands your home country culture.
Another source is the International Therapist Directory, a global network of practitioners for in-person, phone, or Internet sessions. Therapists are familiar with the expatriate experience and provide culturally sensitive treatment.
Anyone traveling abroad who is already under a doctor’s care, taking prescription medications, should check those medications’ local availability and import status. You may need to find an alternative in the host location; plan to have a discussion with your doctor before departure.
With some advance knowledge and planning, you can protect your mental health and boost your well-being while abroad.
Find our new Mental Health Resources in the “Health and Safety” section of Best of the Web. We are also committed to developing country-specific content for our destination reports.
Written by Ellen Harris,GMS – Product Manager, Content Group