Issue 4
Monday, 01 June 2020
Charles Darwin University
E-news
From left: Dr Devaki Monani catches up with international students Qi Feng and Swapna Bupathi
From left: Dr Devaki Monani catches up with international students Qi Feng and Swapna Bupathi

Immigrants ‘ahead’ of resilience curve

By Kaye Hall

Lecturer in Social Work Dr Devaki Monani has commended Charles Darwin University’s international students on their resilience in the wake of the COVID-19 outbreak.

“One could argue they have better problem-solving skills when faced with social isolation, than most people in the local community,” Dr Monani said.

“Despite being isolated from the mainstream community, they have been coming to lectures, attending tutorials and remaining connected with each other, studying, cooking and eating together to keep their spirits up.”

She said that COVID-19 had provided an unparalleled opportunity to appreciate the immigrant experience.

“Indeed, immigrants may not have felt the impacts of self-isolation to the same extent as mainstream Australians.”

Dr Monani, who specialises in immigrant settlement in Australia, was commissioned by the NSW Multicultural Health Communication Service recently to undertake a literature review on the mental health of Indian women in NSW. 

The research found that the segmented approach to multicultural communities in the mental health sector was not helpful.

“Having multicultural communities doesn’t mean we have a thriving diverse society,” she said.

“Many immigrants experience mental health concerns and challenges associated with social isolation, money worries and loneliness.

“Over the past couple of months, many more Australians have been feeling this way due to the COVID-19 shutdown.”