Monday, 10 August 2009

Quick hit: Suddenly solo

From the Herald today:
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.


"To have a mental health problem is considered shameful in Asian communities, and if sufferers are not reached, and they continue to be unable to interact or integrate it could have huge social and economic repercussions for New Zealand," said Dr Sobrun-Maharaj.

She said her centre needed $400,000 to run the research over two years, but it had been unable to find funding.

Click through for the whole article.

Putting to one side for a moment the whole who-exactly-are-these-"Asians"-of-whom-you-speak thing...

Yesterday I was talking to a relative whose partner was made redundant recently. While he is still looking for work, he's looking after their child while my relative increases her hours at her average wage job. They've taken their daughter out of the early childhood service she was attending, and are tightening their belts, and despite the difficulties they seem pretty happy with how things are working. But without the mother's wage, from a job she started doing when times were rosier, they'd be pretty stuffed about now. As they're already living in Auckland they haven't had to discuss one or all of them moving to find work. They have plenty of family support emotionally and practically, if not financially.

Still it's hard for them, even though they do have some advantages over many others, like those in the article I've linked. I feel very lucky today to be in pretty well paid work, to have enough money to be comfortable, to not have a financial need to work lots of extra hours that take me away from my family, to have a partner who enjoys being at home and has no dented pride about his wife being the breadwinner.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

You should all check out Tara te Heke the guest poster on Kiwiblog.