Studying and traveling abroad is an exciting, but sometimes stressful, experience. It is important that all students make a plan for managing mental health abroad.
Before You Leave
Consider how you will manage your mental health abroad. Anticipating your needs and making plans for supporting those needs is one of the best prevention steps you can take. For example, how you will cope to dramatic changes to your routine, how you will respond to jet lag, how prepared you are to encounter a new culture, and whether you can bring your medication abroad. Be sure to do some research and discuss all of this with your primary care provider, the ASU Health Services Travel Medicine Clinic, and/or CISI (ASU’s international insurance partner). If you are currently receiving therapy or clinical support, it may help to develop a mental health travel plan with your provider.
The Global Education Office strongly encourages any student traveling with medication to do research well in advance of travel, to ensure that you can bring your prescribed medication with you (and that you can refill it in your destination, if needed). Additional information/guidance on traveling with medication is available at https://goglobal.asu.edu/students/traveling-prescriptions.
It may also be helpful to download MySSP@ASU before departure, which you can use while abroad to connect with 24/7 real time, confidential mental health support from experienced professionals.
If you are a Global Education program participant, it's important to disclose your history on the ASU Student Health Questionnaire (within your program application) so that GEO staff and program leaders can advise and support you in managing any health conditions abroad.
Regardless of whether you have a pre-existing mental health condition, you may struggle with mental wellness while you're abroad. Eating healthy, getting enough rest, exercising, and actively participating in program activities can help boost your mood. The Global Education Office also offers some tips for successfully navigating a new cultural environment (in your pre-departure orientation) that you may find helpful.
If you're not sure if you're experiencing symptoms related to a mental health condition, you can take advantage of free online screening tools available through MySSP@ASU.
If you experience serious difficulties while you're abroad, reach out to your program director or contact GEO. Together, we'll create a plan for moving forward which may include connecting you with a local mental health professional.
Counseling Support Abroad
ASU offers several options for seeking mental health support while abroad. Students can use the services that best fit their needs.
CISI, ASU's international insurance partner, offers emotional support services by calling their 24/7 Assistance Provider at +1 (603) 952-2660. They can connect you with in-person counseling and psychological support in several different languages. There is no additional cost to using this service.
24/7 Free Remote Counseling - Open Call/Open Chat
MySSP@ASU, in partnership with ASU Counseling Services, offers free and simple access to connect with a mental health clinician about anything. All services are confidential and free of charge for ASU students, no matter where in the world you are located.
Helping a Friend
If you're ever in a situation where you think a friend may be in danger, contact your program director or local emergency services.
The following signs may indicate that a friend is having a mental health issue:
- Abrupt changes in behavior
- Isolation from others
- Noticeable changes in mood, such as depression, apathy, or irritability
- Poor attendance in classes
- Sudden outbursts of anger
- Attention/memory difficulties
- Alcohol/drug misuse or abuse
- Marked change in personal hygiene/appearance
- Inappropriate crying
- Bizarre statements or behavior
- Suicidal statements
To help a friend in distress, you should:
- Listen carefully.
- Demonstrate concern and interest.
- Avoid criticizing or sounding judgmental.
- Do not ask too many questions.
- Resist the urge to diagnose or label.
- Suggest your friend speak with a program director or GEO.
- Tell your program director or GEO if you are concerned that your friend is at risk of harming themself or others.
In addition, CISI (ASU's international insurance partner) can connect you with free telehealth support, including remote counseling and psychological support.
- Traveling Abroad with Prescription Medication
- CISI Insurance Resources: +1 (603) 952-2660
- ASU Counseling Services
- MySSP@ASU - Free Counseling Services Worldwide
- EMPACT (24/7 ASU-dedicated crisis line): +1 (480) 921-1006
- National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: +1 (800) 273-TALK (8255)
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Mental Health and Travel