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Mental Health Awareness for International Students

This short video introduces the concepts of mental health for international students in the US. Covering mental health awareness and warning signs, dispelling myths, and showing ways to seek treatment, the video seeks to demystify a complex topic.

If you are a school or exchange organization and would like to show this video as part of your student orientation or would like to make it available to your students in another manner, please feel free to embed it into your site using the information below, or contact us for more options.

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Did you know that almost half of all young adults have had some type of mental health disorder in their lives? And while mental health problems can affect people of all ages, races, genders, and backgrounds, college is a particularly susceptible period. Fortunately, there are many support services to help young people through these challenging times.

In this short video, we'll discuss the signs of mental health problems and how to seek treatment for them, then we'll dispel some common myths that prevent people from seeking help, but first, let's discuss what mental health is. Mental health is a person's emotional and psychological well-being. It affects how we think, feel and act, and influences how we make decisions, how we engage with others, how we perform in school, and how we deal with stress.

Mental health problems can come in many forms, and can often be brought on by stressful situations like moving to a new country, being away from family and a familiar culture, or worrying about school exams. It's not uncommon for new students in the United States to struggle adjusting to all of these changes at once, often people struggle with mental illness because they aren't aware of what it is.

A few common warning signs to watch for include:

  • Feeling helpless or hopeless
  • Having mood swings where you are extremely happy one moment, and sad the next
  • Feeling sad and lonely for a long period of time and the feeling doesn't go away
  • Having low energy, and little or no desire to engage with others
  • Eating or sleeping too much or too little
  • Smoking or drinking to excess, or using drugs
  • Seeing or hearing things that don't exist

In some cases, it can even come in the form of wanting to harm yourself or others. If you or someone you know experiences these symptoms, you should seek help as soon as you can. Help for mental illness is often referred to as counseling. And getting help for a mental health condition early is very important, the longer you wait the more difficult it can be to manage. If you or someone you know has a mental health condition, there are many places in the United States to get help.

The best place to start is your on-campus counseling center. Campus counseling centers are often nearby and convenient, their services are confidential, and typically free or offered at a reduced rate. If your school doesn't have a counseling center, you can contact your insurance company to locate a nearby provider.

You can also contact a therapist, psychologist or psychiatrist directly, all are professionals trained to help you deal with mental health issues you may face while studying in the US. Or, you can call one of the confidential toll-free services highlighted at the end of this video.

There are many myths about mental health and seeking help, here are a few of the most common:

"Counseling is for crazy people."

False. Millions of people in the US get counseling, and studies show that most people who get help with a mental health problem improve dramatically or recover completely. In fact, seeking mental health care shows that you are motivated, self-aware and empowered.

"Everyone will know I saw a counselor.

False. In the United States, there are laws and professional ethics standards that prevent your doctor from disclosing information to your parents, friends, and school faculty.

"I can handle my own mental health problems, if I can't, that means I'm weak."

False. Seeking help for a mental health issue is similar to seeking help for any other medical problem. If you broke your leg, you wouldn't try to heal yourself - mental health is no different.

"If I talk about drinking alcohol or doing drugs, I'll get in trouble."

False. Mental health professionals are available to help you through a difficult time, and their offices are considered a safe place to discuss your experiences and what you are going through.

"The things we discuss will become part of my permanent record, and will be viewed negatively."

False. The information you share with your counselor or other professional will remain confidential. It will not be a part of your school transcripts or any other school records.

In Summary

Many students experience mental health challenges while in college, professionals are ready to help you through frustrations, fears, and other obstacles you might face while studying overseas.

If you or someone you know needs help, please see a mental health counselor, or contact the following hotlines which are toll-free and completely confidential:

  • SAMSHA - (877)-726-4727
  • National Suicide Prevention Lifeline - (800)-273-8255

Return back to our "Insurance Explained" section for more information and help