Emotional & Mental Health Awareness — for — International Students

Emotional wellness is the ability to be aware of our feelings and accept them. It means having an optimistic approach through challenges and change. Being emotionally well doesn’t necessarily mean you’re happy all the time, but rather, that you’re self-aware and able to shift as a way to feel better.

Emotional wellness means you:

Are aware of your thoughts and feelings
Express emotions in a healthy way
Seek help when you need it
Set priorities, have a sense of life purpose
Accept mistakes and learn from them
Maintain boundaries with others
Overcome setbacks and learn from failures
Take good care of your body, mind, and spirit
Have ways to manage stress

Did you know...

Wellness encompasses a healthy body, a sound mind, and a tranquil spirit. Enjoy the journey as you strive for wellness.

Laurette Gagnon Beaulieu

Watch this video to learn about common stressors international students face and how they overcame it.

Not sure if you have a mental health issue?

Here are some common signs

To achieve emotional wellness, you can:

Building healthy habits into your everyday routine will help make sure that you are at your best. Remember to...

Be mindful of stress factors. Being an international student isn’t easy as there are many challenges you have to face beyond academics, including adjusting to a new country and language, culture and environment, creating a new support net and staying within budget.
Eat healthy. Include vegetables and fruits on your diet, remember to eat small meals throughout the day, avoid junk food in excess, and watch out for too big portion sizes too often during the day!
Get rest. The National Sleep Foundation recommends that adults get from 7 to 9 hours of sleep each night — not only will you feel better, but performance in general has also been shown to improve.
Be active. According to the Department of Health and Human Services, you should try to get at least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity or 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity a week.

International students will need to take extra care in preparing themselves on what to expect before departing their home country and after they arrive.

Manage your mental health

Build a Community & Keep In Touch

International students may face culture shock when studying abroad. While it’s normal to feel this way, getting involved can help ease the transition.

  • Join a group or club
  • Volunteer
  • Attend events in your community and campus
  • Talk with people in your class
  • Connect with people back home

Seek Help

What is counseling? Is it time to seek treatment?

A relationship that helps to promote emotional wellness, identify goals and potential solutions to problems, improve communication and coping skills, and strengthen self-esteem. Counselors work on strategies to overcome obstacles and personal challenges.

There are many myths out there including...

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. Seeking care shows that you are motivated, self-aware, and empowered.
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.
Everyone will know I saw a counselor
I can handle my mental health problems. If I can't, 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.
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.
If I talk about drinking alcohol or doing drugs, I'll get in trouble
Things we discuss will be part of my record, and 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.
Talk with counselor
Depending on where you're from, counseling may be unfamiliar. Some students think counseling is for people with serious psychological problems, but many students choose to talk with a counselor to help reach their educational and personal goals. You don't need to have a mental illness to speak to a counselor and find it helpful.

How do you decide?

If you find that you are having a hard time adjusting, if you don’t feel like yourself, if you want someone to talk to, or if you want help, you can contact a counselor. Here are some places where you can look for someone to get help:

Counseling Center — On campus center where you can talk to a Psychologist or Psychiatrist at free or reduced costs.

Therapist/Counselor — A clinician that holds a Master's degree or higher, has a state license, but cannot prescribe medication. Often called “psychologist”, “therapist”, “counselor”, “social worker” or “clinician”.

Psychiatrist — A doctor (MD) who has gone through medical school and has the ability to prescribe medication if necessary.

Tip: Information given is completely confidential and does not become part of your school record. Only you can authorize information to be released.

Does your insurance plan cover mental health?
What can you expect to pay out of pocket?

Anonymous Resource Lines:

988 Hotline
988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline
Call or Text: 988
Chat now
Need help in Spanish?
The Trevor Lifeline (LGBTQ)
Call 24/7: 866-4-U-TREVOR (1-866-488-7386)
Text: 202-304-1200
Chat: Online
English with limited Spanish support
Crisis Text Line
Text (Free in US): 741741

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