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Hospital fears for mental health of foreign workers

Foreign workers are developing mental health problems as a result of the stress of being far from home, said Wang Jen-pang (王仁邦), a doctor in the Division of General Psychiatry at the Taipei City Hospital Songde Branch (TCH, 臺北市立聯合醫院松德院區), yesterday.

The inability to adapt to a different life style and working culture are factors causing mental health issues for foreigners working in Taiwan, according the TCH.

“Taiwan's foreign work force is increasing, and consists of foreign labor, language teachers, students, caregivers, spouses, and expatriates from international companies,” said Wang. This growing expatriate population often suffers from a language barrier while living in Taiwan, reported Wang. This in turn can cause excess stress that can lead to mental illnesses.

Foreigners in Taiwan often comment on how difficult it is to find medical information that they can understand, reported Wang. “Much of the information on how to seek medical help and what kind of help is available is all in Chinese, with no translation services provided for foreigners.”

The TCH has seen an increase in the number of foreign language teachers seeking medical help for mental health problems. More foreign laborers and caregivers are being treated for severe mental health instability.

“In my own clinical experience, the more common mental diseases are depression, manic depression, and alcohol and drug abuse,” reported Wang. “The lack of attention to this issue will result in the deterioration of mental health for foreign worker that need medical assistance,” Said Wang.

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