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Students with mental health concerns should take proactive steps to ensure that they have the most successful study abroad experience possible. This means talking to your health care provider about how to continue your treatment while abroad. You should:
- Ensure that the medications you take are legal in your destination (call that country’s embassy or consulate or visit their website).
- Ensure that you have access to an adequate supply of medications (see Medications).
- Take steps to continue therapy. Some students “meet” with their US therapist via Telehealth, while others use GeoBlue insurance to identify a qualified therapist on site. Please talk with your therapist if they are able to continue treatment if you are abroad for an extended time.
- CGIS strongly encourages you to disclose your condition to your program’s on-site staff and/or group leader, as they will be with you on-site and best able to help ensure that your needs are met.
While living in another environment is a good way to change a daily routine, it is important for students who are experiencing difficulties in the US (relationship, health, emotional, substance abuse, and so on) not to expect a vacation from their problems. Going abroad is not a "geographic cure" for concerns and problems at home (that is, thinking that one can solve personal dilemmas by moving from one place to another).
Living and studying in a foreign environment frequently creates unexpected physical and emotional stress, which can exacerbate otherwise mild disorders. It is important that students be able to adjust to potentially dramatic changes in climate, diet, living, and study conditions that may seriously disrupt accustomed patterns of behavior.
In the event that a student’s condition is very serious, students may be encouraged to focus on their health first and postpone program participation until a later time. Students may also want to apply for a different program where the appropriate health services can be secured.
Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS)
Before departure, students are encouraged to visit CAPS on the UM campus to discuss individually tailored mental health self-care strategies with a counselor. CAPS does not provide services for students already abroad. CAPS provides the following services, among others, in an atmosphere that is welcoming, comfortable, and multiculturally sensitive for all students:
- Individual Counseling
- Group Opportunities
- Urgent/Crisis Services
- Psychiatric Evaluations and Medication Management
- ADHS Screenings and Support
- Eating Patterns Screening and Support
- Substance Abuse Screenings and Support
To make an appointment, visit the Counseling and Psychiatric Services website.
UM's GeoBlue Insurance covers therapy sessions internationally. If you are curious about the possibilities for counseling while abroad, especially on longer-term programs, please reach out to the Health and Safety Team for more information.