"Their baggage goes, too. Mental health issues don’t stay behind when students go abroad. But good preparation can help lessen the potential for negative impacts," writes Karen Leggett in the 2012 International Educator Health and Insurance Supplement. Her article quotes Arlene Snyder, Director of Health, Safety and Security in the Arcadia University College of Global Studies.
Preparation begins with encouraging students to disclose a preexisting mental health condition and be prepared to discuss concerns that arise overseas. “Students associate a stigma with a mental health condition, but if you were sick, I wouldn’t send you abroad without insulin,” says Arlene Snyder, director of health, safety, and security at Arcadia University’s College of Global Studies. “Students need to understand the decisionmaking tree. You are not using information to exclude.” The goal is to identify ways to include and support students, not screen them out. Early screening and disclosure should enable the best decisions to be made, beginning with when to go abroad, which program to choose, and what supports are needed for success.