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Mental Health Abroad

Travelers receiving counseling or treatment for a mental health condition, or incurring symptoms of stress, anxiety or depression, are encouraged to discuss their education abroad experience with trained medical professionals. Changes in environment, diet, routine and cultural norms can all impact health.  In addition compounding factors such as jet lag, culture shock, intercultural adaptation and changes in personal support infrastructure can also adversely impact their well-being. Travelers are encouraged to be proactive in managing their health.

For those currently receiving counseling or treatment, it is advisable to:

  1. Discuss. Review your plans for traveling abroad and issues related to cultural adjustment with your mental health professional.
  2. Plan. Develop a proactive plan to manage your health while abroad as your support system will change while abroad. Speak with your medical professional about triggers that might influence your health. If your medical professional has questions about the resources available, they can contact the international risk manager at simmons.541@osu.edu or 614-247-8351.
  3. Prescriptions. Some common forms of anti-anxiety medications and psychostimulants prescribed in the United States are illegal or unavailable in certain countries. Please refer to the traveling with prescription medications section for more information.
  4. Continuing Care. An important factor in pre-departure planning is determining the availability of English language medical professionals in your city, region or country abroad. GeoBlue has a searchable provider database for medical professionals including specialists in mental health and psychiatry. You must be enrolled in GeoBlue to access this service. Please contact GeoBlue with questions.

For those not currently receiving treatment but concerned about managing mental health abroad, Ohio State’s Counseling and Consultation Service (CCS) has trained medical professionals who can help. CCS services are free to all currently enrolled Ohio State students for up to 10 sessions per academic year. Appointments can be scheduled by calling 614-292-5766. Prepare to schedule this conversation at least two to three months before planning to travel abroad.