A Guide to Enhancing your MDW’s Mental Well-Being

Migrant domestic workers (MDWs) leave their families and countries to work in Singapore in order to provide a better life for their loved ones back home. They may experience stress as a result of working and living in a new environment. As her employer, you can help her settle down and look after her well-being. Read on to find out how you can help manage your MDW's stress level and where you can get help!

What is stress for a MDW ?

Stress is defined as a state of emotional or physical tension. It is normal to feel stressed from time to time. The events or situations that cause stress may differ from person to person depending on how they perceive and react to the circumstances.

MDWs may experience stress for a variety of reasons, including:

  • Getting used to a new environment and cultural background.

  • Language barriers make it difficult to understand instructions.

  • Unfamiliarity with carrying out their chores.

  • Unable to cope with the workload.

What are the signs and symptoms of stress?

Look out for the following signs and symptoms of your MDW being overly stress:

  • Sleeping a lot or sleeping poorly

  • Overeating or under-eating

  • Lack of interest, less talking, poor eye contact, and listlessness

  • Easily becoming frustrated or upset

  • Becoming forgetful

If your MDW has such signs and symptoms, she may be under stress. You can help her in managing and overcoming the stress as early as possible. If these signs and symptoms persist and are not addressed, it may result in the MDW taking drastic actions such as:

  • Running away from their employers’ home

  • Turning abusive towards people whom they provide care for

  • Committing self-harm

How can you assist her in coping with her stress?

Stress is unavoidable in our lives, but it is manageable. If you suspect that your FDW is depressed, you should spend time to speak to her and encourage her to open up and offer a listening ear. Provide emotional support by being more empathetic and understanding towards her. Let's take a look at some common scenarios that MDW employers face and how to deal with them.

If she misses her home Support from family and friends is critical for your MDW's stress management. You can ask her to call home or write a letter to her loved ones. Give her a way to communicate with her loved ones and people who can lend her a listening ear.

Have a conversation with her

Ask her if she is experiencing any difficulties. If it is work-related, listen to her concerns and discuss how you can help her in doing a better job. Guide her along in the details of the tasks.

Be patient with your MDW

It may take some time for your MDW to adjust to her new duties and settle into your family. Encourage her and express your appreciation as she improves her work.

Allow her privacy

Being constantly in the presence of others can be exhausting. While MDWs are expected to care for the needs of the household, they also require their own space and time. Allow her some privacy and time to de-stress.

Apart from the common scenarios, there are many healthy habits that can protect one from harmful effects of stress. You can help your MDW to adopt some of the healthy habits by following these tips:

  • Make sure your MDW is eating healthy, balanced meals. Encourage her to eat a variety of fruits and vegetables.

  • Encourage your MDW to do daily stretching exercises.

  • Ensure that your MDW gets enough rest and sleep.

  • Plan her work and rest schedules, especially if she needs to get up in the middle of the night to care for an infant or the elderly.

If you still find your FDW depressed after talking to her, you should call any of the following helplines for assistance:

  • MOM Helpline for MDWs: 1800 339 5505

  • CDE (Centre for Domestic Employees): 1800 225 5233

  • FAST (Foreign Domestic Worker Association for Social Support and Training): 1800 339 4357

  • AEAS (The Association of Employment Agencies): 6836 2618

A happy MDW is a more motivated and productive worker!

Take good care of your MDW and make her feel valued. In turn, she will also put in her best to care for your family. Please contact Swift Maids if you need to find a reliable MDW or someone to help you with your house chores and to take care of your family.