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Listen to two vantage points about migration stress. And how it can be an enriching experience, but it often comes with significant emotional challenges

Welcome to the PsyMood Series Podcast Blog, where we explore the fascinating world of psychology and its impact on our mood and well-being.

In Episode 17, listen to our chat between the host Sally Seiriki, Henry Socasi, a Psychoanalyst,  and Luciana Mochulske, a Psychologist, and Paolo Fernandez, a Translator, where we discuss the complex emotional landscape of migration stress. Migration, while offering new opportunities and experiences, often brings significant emotional challenges. Our special guests share personal stories of resilience and adaptation, highlighting the emotional highs and lows that accompany such a profound life change. 


We’ll explore strategies for managing migration-related stress and discuss how to transform these challenges into opportunities for emotional growth and well-being. Whether you’re a migrant yourself or simply interested in understanding the migrant experience, this episode provides valuable insights and practical advice for navigating the emotional journey of migration. Tune in to discover how embracing change can lead to personal growth and a deeper sense of belonging.


Migration can be an enriching experience, but it often comes with significant emotional challenges. Research indicates that many migrants experience what is known as “migration grief,” a complex emotional response to leaving one’s home country. This process can mirror the stages of grief typically associated with bereavement and includes feelings of loss, sadness, and anxiety. 


Statistics show that migrants are more susceptible to depression, with studies indicating that up to 50% of migrants may experience depressive symptoms during their transition period. Understanding these challenges is crucial for providing better support to those undergoing such life-changing moves.


Migration is a journey filled with hopes and new beginnings, but it also brings a unique set of emotional challenges. While much attention is given to the logistical and economic aspects of migration, the psychological impact is equally significant and often under-discussed. This blog delves into the concept of migration stress and provides insights into the emotional toll it takes on individuals.


When people migrate, they leave behind more than just a physical space; they part with their cultural roots, familiar environments, and often close relationships. This separation can lead to what experts term “migration grief.” This grief is not a formal diagnostic term but rather a conceptual framework to understand the emotional turmoil migrants face. According to recent discussions on the Henry and Luciana Podcast, migration grief encompasses feelings of profound sadness, a sense of loss, and sometimes even physical symptoms such as fatigue and confusion.


Stages of Migration Grief

When migrating, a part of our life stays where we left off, and then a process begins in which the subject goes through seven griefs.


  1. mourning for family and friends
  2. mourning for the language
  3. mourning for culture
  4. mourning for the land
  5. mourning for status
  6. mourning due to contact with the ethnic group
  7. mourning for physical risks


Similar to the stages of grief experienced in bereavement, migration grief often unfolds in phases. These stages include:


  1. Shock and Denial: Initially, migrants might feel numb or in disbelief about their new reality.
  2.  Anger: Frustration and anger may arise from the difficulties of adapting to a new culture and lifestyle.
  3. Bargaining: Migrants might dwell on “what if” scenarios, imagining how their lives would be if they hadn’t moved.
  4. Depression: A deep sense of sadness and longing for the home country often sets in, leading to depressive symptoms.
  5. Acceptance: Over time, many migrants come to terms with their new environment and begin to adapt and integrate.




The emotional impact of migration is profound and widespread. Research highlights that migrants are at a higher risk of mental health issues compared to non-migrants. Studies suggest that:


– Up to 50% of migrants experience symptoms of depression during their transition period.

– Anxiety disorders are also prevalent, affecting around 30% of migrants.

– The risk of developing chronic mental health conditions, such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), increases significantly among those who have faced extreme hardships during their migration journey


Personal stories shared by individuals like Paola Fernandez, a guest and translator on the Podcast, shed light on the real-life experiences of migrants. Paola described her journey of adapting to life in Canada, where she initially struggled with sadness and disorientation. Her story underscores the importance of recognizing and addressing migration grief as part of the broader mental health landscape.


Migration Stress affects the need to look for work

Migration stress significantly impacts various aspects of a migrant’s life, including finding employment. The emotional toll of leaving behind familiar surroundings and support systems can exacerbate the difficulties of adapting to a new job market. This stress often manifests as anxiety, depression, or a sense of overwhelm, all of which can undermine a migrant’s confidence and motivation. When combined with the challenges of understanding a new culture, language barriers, and potentially unfamiliar professional norms of securing a job is even more daunting.


One of the primary ways migration stress affects job hunting is through its impact on mental health. Migrants experiencing high levels of stress and anxiety may struggle with the focus and persistence required to conduct an effective job search. This can lead to procrastination, a lack of follow-through on job applications, and difficulty preparing for interviews. Furthermore, the constant worry about financial stability and the pressure to quickly find employment can create a vicious cycle where stress impedes job search efforts, and the lack of job prospects heightens stress levels.


Language and cultural differences also play a significant role in exacerbating migration stress. Migrants may find it challenging to communicate effectively in their new environment, hindering their ability to network, perform well in interviews, and understand job descriptions and requirements. Additionally, cultural misunderstandings or a lack of familiarity with the local job market dynamics can lead to missteps in the application process or during interviews. This can result in missed opportunities and further frustration.


Moreover, the absence of a local professional network can be a substantial barrier for migrants. In many cases, job opportunities arise from connections and networking, which can be difficult for migrants who have not yet established a robust social and professional circle in their new location. The stress of building these connections from scratch, often without the immediate support of friends or family, can be overwhelming and discouraging.


To mitigate these challenges, migrants need to search for support systems, such as community organizations, professional associations, and mentorship programs tailored to help newcomers integrate into the job market. Additionally, leveraging online resources and platforms can provide valuable information and networking opportunities. By addressing the emotional and practical aspects of migration stress, migrants can improve their chances of finding fulfilling employment and successfully adapting to their new environment.


Finding effective Support

Understanding the emotional challenges faced by migrants is the first step in providing effective support. Here are a few strategies that can help:


  • Community Support: Creating support networks for migrants can help alleviate feelings of isolation. Community centers and social groups specifically for migrants can provide a sense of belonging and mutual support.
  • Mental Health Services: Accessible mental health services tailored to the needs of migrants are crucial. These services should be culturally sensitive and aware of the unique challenges migrants face.
  • Educational Programs: Informing migrants about the potential emotional impacts of migration and providing coping strategies can empower them to manage their mental health proactively.
  • Policy Interventions: Governments and organizations should consider the mental health of migrants in their policies and provide resources for their well-being.


Migration is undoubtedly a challenging journey, but with the right support and understanding, migrants can navigate their new lives while maintaining their mental health. Recognizing migration grief and its impact is a vital step toward fostering a more inclusive and supportive environment for all.  These insights and statistics underscore the importance of addressing the emotional needs of migrants, ensuring their transitions are not only successful but also emotionally healthy.

Let me introduce you to our guest!

Bio: Henry Socasi, Psychoanalyst

Graduated in Psychology from the Salesian Polytechnic University of Ecuador and Graduated with a Master’s Degree in Psychoanalysis from the University of Buenos Aires. Henry also has a diploma in Psychoanalysis from the Clinical Institute of Buenos Aires, (ICdeBA).

Due to his extensive experience in the psychoanalytic care of adults, Henry’s main objective is to alleviate the symptoms that afflict the patients who come to his office.

For Henry, it is important that well-being is linked to order and respect, which is essential when caring for those who consult.

– Spanish Version –

Graduado en Psicología por la Universidad Politécnica Salesiana del Ecuador y Egresado de la Maestría en Psicoanálisis de la Universidad de Buenos Aires, además soy Cursante de la diplomatura en psicoanálisis por el Instituto Clínico de Buenos Aires, (ICdeBA)

Debido a mi amplia experiencia en la atención psicoanalítica de adultos, Henry objetivo principal es aliviar los síntomas que aquejan a los pacientes que llegan a mi consulta.

Para Henry  es importante que el bienestar esté ligado al orden y el respeto lo cual es fundamental al momento de atender a quien consulta.

Bio:  Luciana Mochulske, Psychologist

Luciana is a Clinical Psychologist, with psychoanalytic training, and eclectic in that I use other tools from different disciplines and orientations according to the uniqueness of each patient.   She provides care for adolescents, and adults and guidance for parents.  Bonding therapy (couples).   She has extensive hospital and therapeutic experience in dual pathologies, problematic consumption, eating disorders, psychosomatic illnesses, and emotional dependence.

– Spanish Version –

Soy Psicóloga clínica, con formación psicoanalitica, y ecléctica en cuanto a que utilizo otras herramientas de diferentes disciplinas y orientaciones segun la singularidad de cada paciente. Realizo atención a púberes, adolescentes, adultos y orientación a padres.  También terapia vincular(parejas).  Poseo amplia experiencia hospitalaria y terapéutica en patologías duales, consumo problemático trastornos de la alimentación, enfermedades psicosomáticas, y dependencia emocional.

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Listen to the full episode below:

You can find the transcript for the podcast right here! 🎙️📜

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