When I arrived in Belgium some years ago, I knew that in North European countries the psychological problems were worse than in the South, but did not realize the scale. I have never find so many cases of friends, colleagues, relatives with mental problems, burnouts, depressions, even suicides.
Also, I was not aware how that could affect to an expat, by nature with less social contacts / close family links, but also many times affected or influenced by the -not always healthy- environment.
I live in the Flemish part of Belgium, and think due to the way regular Flemish are, this could be hard for people used to other cultures.
I think one of the main problems is the structured mind most of the people have here; I mean, in my homeland, Spain, they have psychological patterns too, but maybe not so clear or strict.
For instance, something that I noticed soon is that normally, to socialize with neighbors, family or friends, is a scheduled task. You cannot pop up in your neighbor flat or your father in law´s to say simply "hi, how are you?"; you should request in advance for an appointment or wait until the annual Spring local party, when it is the moment to talk and laugh with the neighbors, and everybody is friendly and nice. Normally the rest of the year´s encounters with neighbors are something like "hi, how are you find thanks and yourself, bye", when even some people wont say even "good morning".
Well, of course this sounds quite as a "cliché" and exaggeration, but the point is that socialize is hard here. Even at the school, with other parents, at work (normally not personal subjects exchange) or anywhere...
This leads to a lack of opportunities to relief, just shout out the frustrations.
Another big impact about stress is how Flemish are so concern about money and work. I can tell that most of my colleagues they have two jobs or at least a side business apart of their regular 8h job. Some of them are worried about the so called crisis; but the reality is that the so called crisis in Belgium gives 8% of unemployment and minimu salary of 1500€ while in Spain is 21% and 600€. Even though the conditions here are far better, the number of burnt-outs and stress in Belgium are leading the statistics in Europe.
My point is to ask about your experiences and try to do something not to be affected by this mental sickness as stress and depression, because I think when you arrive in a new country, you have to adapt and learn about the good things, but also, somehow we have the ethical duty to help in what they are not doing well, and I am quite sure that Belgium is doing something wrong about depression.
Sorry for the long texting but I thought the importance of the subject required it.