Struggling Asian wives ‘health timebomb’

NZ Herald Aug 10, 2009

Asian migrant men hit by recession are moving overseas to look for work – but are leaving their wives and children in New Zealand. The situation is developing into a “mental health timebomb” for these “suddenly single mothers” in the Asian community, and stigma and fear of “losing face” are preventing them from reaching out for help or even sharing their problems with friends, says a University of Auckland expert.

Dr Amritha Sobrun-Maharaj, director for the university’s Centre for Asian Health Research and Evaluation, says urgent research is needed to understand how widespread the problem is and its impact on New Zealand. She said the lack of research into mental health issues facing Asians in New Zealand had left authorities and health officials here at a loss on what needed to be done – or even how to reach such mental health sufferers.