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31 Aug 2018

EAPs can help overseas employees cope with stress and anxiety

August 20, 2018

Moving abroad for work can be a rewarding, but stressful, experience and many firms are falling short when it comes to providing mental health support.

New research commissioned by The Health Insurance Group has found that only 34% of organisations with employees working overseas have a specific policy in place, such as an employee assistance programme (EAP).

As a result, thousands of employees could be left vulnerable, with no clear idea of where to turn to for help if they suffer mental health problems while many miles from home.

In addition to dealing with the pressures of a new job, workers relocating overseas have to settle into a new home and adapt to a different culture and way of life. They may also have the additional worry of making sure their family settles in. Meanwhile, those whose family stays at home may have to deal with different stresses, including feelings of isolation and trying to maintain long-distance relationships.

All of this can add up to stress and anxiety for employees, which could have serious consequences if the right support is not available, The Health Insurance Group explained.

The company recommends looking at a specific policy that is tailored to the needs of the employees within the country they will be working in. Staff may also have different requirements depending on their age or personal circumstances, all of which need to be considered.

Sarah Dennis, head of international for The Health Insurance Group, said: “Today´s employees want to work for employers who take their wellbeing seriously. Forward-thinking organisations understand the importance of providing a complete package for staff which looks after both physical and mental health. This is even more important with overseas employees, given the additional stresses involved.

“Paying particular attention to mental health signals to employees that they can be open about any issues they are facing and know where to turn to for help. Early intervention with mental health problems is vital and often leads to a quicker recovery, so it´s in everyone´s interests to provide it and make sure staff know how to access it.”

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