A foreigner, refugee, or expat is a person temporarily or permanently residing in a country and culture other than that of the person’s upbringing or legal residence. Cultural differences quickly become apparent in: language, culture, style of dress, behavior, food choices, expectations, and these affect everyday life, families, and mental health.
Seeking mental health support in a foreign country can be more difficult
than it would be in your home country.
Foreigners experience a myriad of challenges that often are not realized, such as:
- Previously existing problems in your homeland can become highly intensified with the stress of living in a new country.
- New identity problems can arise when you are now seen as different from than other people and make you feel out of your ‘comfort zone’ and isolated.
- Physical symptoms may arise: headaches, upset stomach, trouble sleeping, restlessness, increased alcohol or drug use, etc.
- Emotional symptoms also also common: depression, anxiety, anger, frustration, stress, etc.
- Children have difficulty adjusting in a different school environment and social group.
- Marriage and family relationships often feel the strain, away from the norms, traditions and support of extended family or friendships. Sometimes this strain also results in domestic violence or infidelity.
- Learning to effectively express yourself in a foreign language is incredible frustrating and its easy to feel misunderstood, treated like a child or idiot, and not seem to be seen or heard which can mean that you do not get your needs met.
- Prejudices can also arise from the nationals themselves who assume foreigners are in Denmark, not as contributing residents, but for free services and economic benefits.
Find a mental health professional who understands your struggles and can lend you support.