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Human Resources

Looking after your expat employees’ mental health

IbyIMD+ Published 8 December 2021 in Human Resources • 6 min read

An expat assignment can prove challenging for the mental health of employees and their families.  Companies that provide the right emotional support will help them deal with transition challenges more smoothly.


Jenny moved from New York City to The Hague with her husband, Jared, and their 10-year-old daughter, Sonia. Before the move, she worked as a legal counsel for a media company and Jared was a human rights lawyer with the United Nations. He got an offer to work at the International Criminal Court, and they decided to take it and move to the Netherlands as a family. Jenny quit her job. 

Anchored in his new job, with a built-in support system, Jared adjusted quickly. Jenny spent the first few weeks after the move getting Sonia settled at home and school, getting to know her way around, and starting to learn Dutch. Jenny didn’t know anyone in The Hague. During her first weeks there, she felt homesick and isolated. Her only contact with others was talking to her family and close friends back in New York City. She was spending too much time on video calls and not enough time getting out of the apartment and talking to people locally.  

Then, there were days when she didn’t have the energy to get out of bed. She thought it was because of the darkness outside and getting used to the Dutch winter – not the initial symptoms of depression. It took her several months of suffering before she sought professional help. Her depression lasted for almost a year. 

Jenny is one of many expats who struggle with mental health issues. A recent survey by health care…

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