Auckland is home to many people from many different countries and cultures. Moving away from one’s country and meeting new cultures can be refreshing and exciting. But it can be lonely not having family support or close friends and so much strangeness. Settling in poses challenges such as communication and discrimination. It also poses other difficulties such as questioning idenity, values and belonging. All these things can create insecurity and in some cases result in anxiety and depression. Homesickness, grief as well as unexpected stress from the cultural differences are also common.
In the process of adjusting to a new environment, everyone makes choices as to how much to keep of their old culture and how much to let go. Different people make different choices and change at different paces. This can lead to tension within the family (typically between parents and children). Family members might also find that their old roles and responsibilities wiithin the family change or become less important. These changes alter the family balance, which can be stressful and put strain on family relationships.
Cross-cultural relationships tend to have extra challenges and difficulties to navigate. It is not uncommon that cultural differences that appear attractive at first turn out to be the sources of stress later in the relationship.
All the issues mentioned above are normal challenges involved in adjusting to a new environment. However, being exposed to stress for a prolonged period without support can effect mental and emotional wellbeing. Some of the common issues that affect migrant and refugee communities in New Zealand include depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress, family issues, and relationship issues.
It is often hard to reach out for help in an unfamiliar place and feeling isolated. Asking a stranger for help might feel very foreign. If you find yourself struggling please know that you are not alone, and that help is available. We practice respectfully, with trust, safety and confidentiality. Therapy is a space where you can talk about anything that is troubling you, including those worries that you normally keep to yourself for fear of being judged or misunderstood.