Maintaining strong mental health is the personal responsibility of each student. Mental health issues will not go away just because you are in another country. It is quite the opposite—the stress of adapting to a new country and culture can exacerbate existing conditions or trigger issues that seem to be under control.
If you share any pertinent mental health issues and areas of vulnerability with your study abroad advisor, we can help you research the resources that will or will not be available in a particular location or program. Prior to departure and throughout your program, we will continue to support you as you manage your health.
Prior to Departure
- Research mental health services in your host country. Services vary worldwide, so it is important to understand what resources will be available to you and in which timeframe.
- Discuss you plans with your mental health providers and understand whether or not they will be available to you and if so, how. University Counseling Services offers a range of services to DePaul students on campus, including preparing for mental health abroad.
- Plan for your prescription medication. Make a plan with your doctor, including how much medicine you can bring abroad, if there are any restrictions on that medication in your destination country(ies), and how to safely transport it in your carry-on luggage.
- Share information about your health with your study abroad advisor and/or faculty director. We can help you plan to manage your health pre-departure and knowing your background helps us respond to any potential crisis while you are abroad more effectively.
- Get familiar with your insurance plans. Familiarize yourself with your insurance plans including your CISI insurance through Study Abroad and your own private insurance plan, if you plan to use that. Request a list of providers in your area prior to departure.
- Know what you will do in a crisis.
Learn about culture shock so that you can identify when you are experiencing it. While culture shock can sometimes be very difficult, it is important to distinguish between it and more serious symptoms. If you experience any of the following below, please tell your medical provider, onsite support staff, faculty director, a study abroad advisor or a friend so that we can help.
- Heavy alcohol or drug use
- Too much sleep or difficulty getting out of bed
- Staying alone in your living quarters all day
- Changes in eating habits such as eating excessively or very little
- Avoiding friends and social interactions
- Not attending classes or marked decrease in academic performance
- Escaping into sexual relationships
In a crisis situation, the best resources are those closest to you—local program staff or faculty director. In addition to that, CISI works with a 24/7 assistance provider named AXA and that number is on the back of your insurance card. You can call the DePaul Study Abroad office during regular business hours at (312) 362-6962, and/or 24/7 via Public Safety at (773) 325-7777 by stating that you have a "study abroad emergency."