Caring For Your Mental Health While Abroad
Now that you've exhaustively researched your mental health resources, you're ready to start your studies in the US. Be careful, though: it's easy to neglect your mental health once you get caught up in the hustle and bustle of the college experience, especially as an international student. Here are a few tips for caring for your mental health while studying abroad:
Talk to your advisor
Because of health care privacy regulations, your advisor will have no way of knowing about your mental health concerns unless you share with them. Your advisor will have a great deal of knowledge and experience with helping students, and if they don't know the answers to your questions, chances are they will know someone else who does. If you find that you're having a hard time adjusting, don't hesitate to set up an appointment to talk about your concerns with your advisor.
If you find yourself getting overwhelmed, pick up the phone (or a computer, depending on how you've arranged to communicate with your family) and call home. Sometimes all you need to keep you grounded is to hear a familiar voice.
Keep yourself busy
Join clubs and get involved in activities that interest you. This will help you make new friends, and will keep you distracted from feeling homesick.
Talk to friends
Sometimes you just need to hear yourself talk through your problems and worries, and know that they're being heard. Other times it's helpful to know that other people have gone through or are going through the same things you are. Don't be afraid to open up to your friends; you'd be amazed by the restorative qualities a simple cup of coffee with a friend can have.
Don't be afraid to seek help
If none of these tips are working, if you've noticed that you've been trying to isolate yourself from others, or any other warning signs, seek help. Most colleges in the US offer counseling services for their students free of charge, or at a reduced rate.
For more tips, check out our page on Managing Your Mental Health!