As a team with diverse backgrounds, iGEM NCKU_Tainan recognizes the importance of diversity and inclusion. Among many causes and types of depression, one type sparked our interest: expat depression, described as a period of feeling despondent or in low spirits sometimes experienced by people who move overseas to complete an assignment for their company. According to a new research report published by Finaccord, the total number of expatriates worldwide amounted to around 66.2 million in 2017. This figure has grown at a compound annual rate of 5.8% since 2013, given that there were about 52.8 million expatriates in that year. By 2021, Finaccord forecasts that the number will reach around 87.5 million. A counselor based in Spain, Chris Neill, states, “The rates of depression could be up to 50 percent higher among expats".
As some of our members are expatriates in Taiwan, they agreed that this is a valid struggle experienced by many of them. The language barrier, culture shock, homesickness, unfamiliarity, and ex-pat stress are the common causes. Thus, our team aspires to cater mental health support to foreign nationals in Taiwan.
Many foreign nationals do not understand how to seek professional mental help in Taiwan. Generally, the language barrier is the main deterrent in their process to seek mental health resources. Therefore, we were inspired to create a booklet that served as a guide to address this issue, providing information about the mental health organizations and professionals who provide English services.
Even among expatriates, English may not be their first language. Therefore, we translated the brochure to other languages, such as Chinese and Indonesian, to distribute at various university organizations and international student associations. In addition, since many international students could not return to their home countries during the summer break due to the pandemic, we distributed the booklets in the college dormitories, hoping that they would be accessible to the international students.
We communicated with Momentizing, an international mental health organization based in Taiwan that provides educational, mental health content, and counseling services in English and Indonesian. Ms. Estralita Gracia is an Indonesian psychologist from Momentizing who aspires to reach out to the global community through inclusivity and care. We invited her to an online interview session to better understand ex-pat depression. The interview was recorded and uploaded on our Instagram, reaching hundreds of people. We sincerely appreciate Momentizing and Ms. Estralita Gracia for accepting our request, allowing us to take another step towards a caring and highly inclusive global community.
By chance, we found Momentizing, an international mental health organization based in Taiwan which provides educational mental health content and counseling service by professionals in English/Indonesian. The Founder of Momentizing, Ms. Estralita Gracia, is an Indonesian psychologist who aspires to reach out to the global community through inclusivity and caring. Without giving much thoughts, we invited her to an online interview session to develop better understanding about expat depression. During the session, she shared abundant information and experiences from an expatriate psychologist perspective. Apart from that, she also mentioned several pieces of advice on handling stress and breaking the cycle of stress becoming depression. The interview was recorded and uploaded on our Instagram, reaching hundreds of people. We sincerely appreciate Momentizing and Ms. Estralita Gracia for accepting our request, another step towards a caring and highly inclusive global community.
- Finaccord - Global Expatriates: Size, Segmentation and Forecast for the Worldwide Market. Finaccord.com. Published 2017. Accessed October 9, 2021. https://www.finaccord.com/Home/About-Us/Press-Releases/Global-Expatriates-Size,-Segmentation-and-Forecas
- Expat Depression: signs and symptoms | Allianz Care. allianzcare.com. Published 2017. Accessed October 17, 2021. https://www.allianzcare.com/en/about-us/blog/2017/06/expat-mental-health.html
- Life in Mérida. Life in Merida. Published February 9, 2021. Accessed October 9, 2021. https://lifeinmerida.com/what-is-expat-depression/#Why_do_mental_health_issues_affect_expats