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Worrying About Mental Health While Abroad

July 5, 2018

What happens if my depression gets really bad for a couple of days? What happens if somehow lose my medication and have to go without it for a period of time? What if my anxiety prevents me from making friends and doing and seeing the things that I’ve always wanted to do and see while in Italy? How am I going to get a counselor who I can connect with if I end up needing one while abroad? And what will I do if I have a bad panic attack or anxiety attack, and I’m alone but need help?

All of those questions kept running through my mind as I was getting ready to leave at the end of May for my internship program in Rome this summer - and they were (and still are) legitimate concerns for a lot of people studying abroad with depression, anxiety disorders, other mental health disorders, and medications that they need to take on a daily basis. While it certainly is stressful trying to figure out a good answer to all of these kinds of questions, IES Abroad luckily has been very helpful - at least with me - in terms of being able to quash any concerns that I might have over those kinds of things and work with me to make sure that any potential problems that could show up while I’m in Rome are dealt with before leaving the States so that I wouldn’t have to worry about it while abroad.

And, because I was able to work with IES Abroad and get everything sorted out like that, I haven’t hit any snags or road bumps yet - I managed to get my medications filled out for the entire time of my program and I haven’t lost any of it yet or had any problems with it, my anxiety and depression haven’t been as bad as they were in America (it surprisingly seems like both are almost completely gone - most likely due to the excitement of being abroad and in a foreign country for the first time, and being in a city and country that I’ve always dreamt of visiting), and I’ve been able to make a game plan with IES Abroad in the event that I might need a counselor and how to deal with any kind of panic or anxiety attacks when I’m alone.

While the idea of studying abroad with a mental health issue can be scary, it hasn’t been as scary as it initially seems. There are plenty of resources that you can lean on and use when you need them, and no matter what happens while you’re abroad, there’s always someone there to be able to help you out with any problems that you have.

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