Recent theoretical developments have revealed that in 2018, a total of 2,080,700 migrants were projected to have returned home from different countries around the world. The percentage of migrants assisted increased to 2.8 percent of total returns in 2017 to 3 percent in 2018. The majority of returns flow from the intraregional areas, mostly from Australia, Philippines, Germany, Korea, Spain, Indonesia, Thailand, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Malaysia, Iran, and Afghanistan.
Over time, the record from Philippine Employment Agency (POEA, 2015) shows that there are about 440,000 Filipinos who have returned to the Philippines for the past 10 years. In view of the fact that the Philippines is one of the leading migrants’ exporters across the globe, the alteration on repatriation of migrants globally has an effect not only on socio-economic status but also on the lives of Overseas Filipino Workers.
Based on the recent data collected by the Department of Labor and Employment (2016), there is a number of factors why there is a sudden increase in them returning back to their home country. The majority of the reasons cited by the repatriates were termination, end of the contract, the oil price crisis, civil unrest, retirement, and health issues. Several of them claimed that they are unwilling to leave, while some can’t wait to be back with their loved ones (Baldoz, 2016). With this rapid rate increase, there is also an increase of recognition in terms of the Mental Health of our returning OFWs as they adjust and transition their life back here in the Philippines.
Existing studies and surveys both by government and non-government sources claimed that life as an Overseas Filipino Worker abroad, in certain instances can be considered difficult (Morales, 2016). Some experienced emotional and physical abuse, while others reported adverse working conditions and low salaries causing them to have limited social mobility. Barua (2019) stated that the said condition may result in a negative psychological health state.
The stated data constitutes a relatively new area for research. This research aims in contributing to the gap of the existing literature by providing empirical research into the Mental Health of returning OFW. It is the researcher’s aspiration that respective government agencies and practicing private psychologists or counselors should benefit from this, so they can be equipped in handling any situation in assisting them. Likewise, this present research can be considered the first step towards a more profound understanding of the factors that influence the challenges regarding the mental health of OFW repatriates and how the re-adjustment process could be facilitated, in the context of the Philippines settings.
The sampling technique that was used in this study is the quota sampling method. Through the use of this technique, the researcher was able to decide the target population as the sample subset selection to be conducted. This sample is suitable for this research since it is difficult to determine the total accurate number of returning OFW in the Philippines.
One hundred OFW repatriates walk-in participants were selected at the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA NCR Buendia branch). Random samples of respondents without any psychopathology diagnosis or relevant clinical history were recruited. They came from different places and areas in the Philippines, have returned from migration, and worked abroad at least 12 months or more. Their ages ranged from twenty (20) to sixty years old (60).
The findings observed resulted in the prevalence of some alarming psychological distress and their levels of well-being are differentiated for each of the sexes. The empirical findings in this study also provided a new understanding of how our society needs to begin embracing the idea of reaching out and giving special attention to the mental health of OFW repatriates. To foster this shift, more psychosocial programs must be included in their policy in relation to their re-integration.
There are possible other variables not specified in this recommendation that could be used as antecedents on the Mental Health of OFW repatriates or even as a predictor then of another variable. Much of the literature in the area of the mental health of OFW repatriates is conjectural and ungrounded in theory; the concept needs to be more concrete in order to better assist researchers with measurement leading to more logical based studies.
Further research may increase the validity of evidence by using more gender-balanced samples. Moreover, there is abundant room for further progress by exploring other factors that may influence the results, such as socioeconomic status, education, and demographic location of the respondents. The study’s result is not only a theoretical use to the enrichment of the literature of mental health but at the same time of practical implications or importance to the welfare of the said population.