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Telehealth Provides Essential Access to Mental Health Care for International Students

International students face culture shock, language barriers, difficulty understanding their teachers, and myriad other challenges—including maintaining good mental health—as they leave all they know and everyone they love behind. A lack of access to their normal support system can trigger distress while living in a country far from home. 

When students feel overwhelmed and stressed, they need someone they can turn to for guidance and counsel. For international students new to the U.S., cultural differences and simply being unaware of available support make approaching mental well-being concerns more difficult. 

Telehealth Helps Students Receive Mental Health Support

Telehealth is the distribution of health-related services and information via electronic information and telecommunication technologies. While it isn’t a complete replacement for in-person mental health care, it offers an advantage for both students and schools.

The Journal of Medical Internet Research recently conducted a study to determine if telehealth platforms could successfully reduce suicidal ideation among enrolled patients, compared to a control group of individuals that did not receive similar care. The results revealed that patients in the telehealth group were 4.3 times less likely to have suicidal thoughts.

Telehealth Provides Connection Anytime, Anywhere

If a student has a mental health crisis at any time—in and outside of the regular school day— access to telehealth enables them to interact with a mental health professional through an app, video call, or phone call in their time of need. If a student feels uncomfortable seeking help from their school counselor, or if that counselor is unavailable at the moment they need help, the student can chat or text a provider through a telehealth platform.

The ability to connect with a professional on their terms and through technology they’re familiar with can also reduce the social stigma teens may feel regarding mental health support. They can receive care without worrying about being seen by someone else at their school counselor’s office or traveling to a therapist with their host family.

GeoBlue’s Global Wellness Assist Program

ISM’s International Scholar Protection is provided by our partner, GeoBlue. Included with all student plans is their Global Wellness Assist—a telehealth program for students who are studying internationally. This program provides access to free, confidential assistance any time, anywhere. 

Professionals are ready to assist with any issue. Topics include, but are not limited to: 

  • harmony between academic and personal life; 
  • managing life changes; 
  • bullying and harassment; 
  • managing anxiety and depression;
  • substance use;
  • surviving the loss of a loved one; and
  • handling stress.

Global Wellness Assist is staffed by licensed therapists, including native speakers of 70 languages, meaning your student can talk to a provider in the language their most comfortable with. The program’s staff members are bound by professional standards regarding confidentiality and do not disclose details of individuals who have contacted the service. Any information your student provides will not be shared with the plan sponsor. Once matched, your student can meet with the same therapist for each following appointment. 

When your child is studying in a foreign country, their health and safety are priorities. Let ISM’s International Scholar Protection give you peace of mind knowing your child has access to high-quality health care (offered by the Blue Cross Blue Shield® PPO network) no matter where they are in the U.S.
Contact for more information.