“Mental Health” is a vast subject. Briefly, it is synonymous with emotional, psychological, and social well-being that forms in childhood and we should constantly nurture it, even after our childhood is finished, because our actions and feelings depend on it.
In the past, “Mental Health” was taboo and a subject to be avoided. Instead of sympathy and compassion for mental health victims, some conditions were seen as a sign of weakness and often ridiculed. Today the view of mental health has normalised, shame and rejection have largely disappeared, and people are comfortable talking more and more about it. Sadly, recognition of the topic can vary from culture to culture and acceptance is not universal
As well as being a more accepted subject, there is a growing quantity of information sources and professional such as: – Support Groups – Mental Health UK (mentalhealth-uk.org)
For us women who are migrants, living in another country far from home is a challenge in itself. It is very true that migrants need time to integrate, but if they interact by working, studying, and learning English the process can be much less traumatic because social relations open up great possibilities for a very successful social integration in a new environment. However, if more time is spent at home because of poor confidence, the process will much take more time because contact with other people will be limited. So those women with good mental health can grow into their new life, and those without risk being left behind.
It is not an easy process to integrate. It is natural to feel isolated and creating a new life can take some time. Finding friends and social activities does not happen instantly and living in another country is a challenge! The good thing is women are creative, smart and we can do a lot of things with a few resources. The hardest part is to start.
When we meet other women, and we share our worries, experiences, and feelings with them we will feel better. Other women, whether migrants or locals, will understand us. Sometimes, our problems are their problems too! For great mental health, it is a lovely idea to meet other women!
In my case, since 2018 I have been living in Scotland and it took time to fit into the community. Finding my Emglish language mentors, ESOL FIFE, took time because I was thinking the structure here was the same as in my country and I was not expecting to find such assistance. Later, when I started going to the Sports Center I felt happy to meet people but it was not easy because my English was poor. I continued to look for more possibilities to improve my English as I started to feel more confident and my activities were more rewarding. I now take English lessons in Dundee and Angus College and share experiences with my classmates who encourage each other to keep learning. We migrated to seek better prospects than in our countries and we are not alone because we all are progressing in the same way. Everyone is trying to do the best to achieve their goals. It is fantastic to see how much empathy we can generate amongst ourselves and with our British friends.
For those who are struggling fitting in or making friends it’s better to use your diversity to your advantage! With time I found that the people were just as curious about me as I was of them and by being open for migrant women and kind all barriers soon disappeared. Keep persisting and you will find your niche! Today, after 4 years in Scotland, I am very happy because we share family dinners, tea parties and cook for each other which is a huge pleasure (FOOD FOR THOUGHT BLOG | ‘Do you like cooking?… Enjoy gastronomic cultural diversity too!!’, by María Verónica Paredes – Heart & Parcel (heartandparcel.org)). And, of course, we can spend a lovely time talking about our lives and giving our mental health a great boost.
If you are like me, continue to do your best and be happy doing the things you like. Probably, you will find a lovely group of people doing the same. With time, you will feel integrated in the different groups this will help you find balance in your life!