You can listen back to A Migrant State of Mind via the player above
This weekend, to mark World Mental Health Day, Documentary On Newstalk brings you: A Migrant State of Mind.
A Migrant State of Mind explores how the process of immigration impacts on a migrant’s mental health, by bringing you the stories of five inspirational individuals, in their own words.
Migrants come to Ireland looking for a better life. Some come looking for acceptance, freedom, safety or economic security. Some find what they are looking for and for others it’s a work in progress. But regardless of how smooth their transition is, all migrants share a sense of dislocation, and many are profoundly impacted by their experience.
A Migrant State of Mind meets with 5 migrants with 5 very powerful stories. Dil shares her own story of how she was forced to leave her country because of her sexuality but even though she found acceptance and success in Ireland her mental health is still fragile. A Migrant State of Mind also meets Susan, a victim of forced labour, Jayson, an undocumented worker, Emmanuel who was granted refugee status and Pebasha an economic migrant who experienced domestic violence. They all came looking for a better life but how did it feel to turn away from the familiar and bravely step into the unknown and how did the transition impact on their mental health?
People have been immigrating for centuries; and although the method of transport has got easier, stricter immigration control has made relocation far more difficult.
The journey of a migrant does not end when they arrive on the shores of their new home. Those who do succeed in immigrating often face a challenging settlement process which involves poverty, isolation, loss of social status, insecurity of immigration status, discrimination and racism.
Quotes from A Migrant State of Mind
“After 3 months, I got to call home but it was from a telephone booth, I would put coins in… I would say hello and just felt like crying and got very emotional but I didn’t want to show it so I kept it to myself.” Susan, 24, from Kenya.
“Mixed emotions, I am happy because I have the opportunity to give my children a good future but on the other side its sadness because I left my three children and I don’t know if I am going to see them again – life is too short.” Jayson, 35, from South Philippines
“Sometimes I used to just close my eyes and I would see myself in a dark tunnel where there was no way out… I didn’t want to wake up in the morning.” Pebasha, 37, from India.
“I cannot remember a day where there wasn’t a fight. There was a guy from Iraq, he was in a fight everyday, he was a doctor in his own country, he comes to Ireland becomes an asylum seeker and after 2 years he is having a fight with a 22 year old boy over the TV remote… that is what happens in these places.” Emmanuel, 38, from West Africa.
“I didn’t know what mental health was, I’d never heard of it before, all I knew was that immigrating from my problems didn’t make them go away so I had no choice but to confront them.” Dil Wickremasinghe, 39, Sri Lankan-Irish.
BROADCAST DETAILS & CREDITS:
A Migrant State of Mind will air on Newstalk 106-108 radio on Saturday the 10th of October at 7am, repeated at 10pm.
The documentary was recorded and presented by Dil Wickremasinghe, produced and edited by Francesca Lalor and mixed by John Davis. Funded by the Mary Raftery Journalism Fund.