Expatriates and long-term visitor’s psychological well-being

Expatriates and migrant workers face a unique set of challenges:

  • Needing to adjust to new and unfamiliar environment (physical and social)
  • Feeling lonely and social isolated, away from family and friends
  • Barriers to access education, healthcare and social services
  • Language and cultural differences, assimilation difficulties
  • Rising costs of living and financial pressures

Amidst the economic challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, there are reports of rising discontentment among the local population about the presence of foreigners. While Singaporeans are generally welcoming and kind to foreigners, a minority may hold xenophobic sentiments. The pandemic has also disrupted the activities of expat support and interest groups, depriving expats of a traditional source of support. They find it harder to socialize and make new friends due to strict social distancing rules. International travel restrictions mean that it is much more difficult to travel back to their home countries, causing some expats to feel trapped and helpless.

Studies have shown that expats are at higher risks of emotional difficulties, depression, anxiety, adjustment disorders, marital difficulties and substance abuse especially alcohol use. Spouses of expatriates are another group who face distinct challenges. Many expat spouses may feel disempowered in a foreign land and find themselves struggling with daily tasks and childcare duties while their partners are engaged in professional pursuits.

Symptoms of stress in expatriates and expat families
  • Feeling overwhelmed with chores
  • Increased irritability leading to relationship strain
  • Feeling apathetic, no longer feeling engaged with life
  • Feeling depressed, hopeless, helpless
  • Constant worries, nervousness, jitteriness
  • Having panic attacks and nightmares
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Loss of appetite

At Private Space Medical, we aim to provide holistic care for expatriates and expat families. This may come in many forms. Some of the treatments we provide are:

  • Psychological and emotional support
  • Psychological therapy
  • Lifestyle advice and modifications
  • Family interventions
  • Medications in the form of anti-depressants or sleeping aids
  • Practical help


With proper treatment and holistic care, we aim to help expats and their families access resources, adapt to living in Singapore, and achieve their full potential in the realms of professional life, family life and personal life.

If you are feeling distressed, lost and alone, do not hesitate to contact us for a chat. You may call or whatsapp us to speak with one of our psychiatrists or psychologists.