New Zealand is home to many people of diverse cultures, backgrounds and ethnicities.
Immigrating offers the hope of a fresh start and new opportunities. At the same time it is an extremely challenging experience.
Immigration and mental health
Moving to a different place means having to face many uncertainties. The process of adjusting to a new culture can lead us to question almost everything we took for granted, including our identity, strengths and accomplishments, as well as personal/cultural values and beliefs. Even well settled migrants face ongoing cultural and communication barriers. Some of the common issues that affect immigrant and refugee communities include major depression, anxiety disorders, post-traumatic stress, gambling problems, family violence and addiction. They may feel isolated, discouraged, overwhelmed or even helpless. However, it is common to become preoccupied with the practical issues of settling in, and fail to notice that their mental and emotional well being is declining. Many fail to reach out for support because of a sense of shame or feelings of failure.
Impact of immigration on family and couple relationships
Each member of a family or couple will go through their personal challenges with adjusting to a new environment. In addition, family members and couples may find that their role in the family or relationship changes as they take on new responsibilities. This can put additional strain on family or couple relationships, and lead to misunderstanding and conflict. Members of families or couples can feel very isolated, especially as they no longer have the social structure they had back home or the support of extended family and friends.
How we can help
At Shore Therapy we are committed to practicing in a cross-culturally responsive way. You can speak to a trained, sensitive, open minded professional who will support you in your struggle to adjust to the practical, cultural and emotional challenges involved in settling in.