One in four people will suffer from mental illness in their lifetime, and society’s stigmatization of mental health care and mental health issues is what prevents more than half of people currently suffering from a mental disorder from seeking proper care and treatment. We want to talk about it – especially in the context of travel and international education.
The dominant narrative in travel portrays a very go-getter, happy-go-lucky, high-spirited, wonderful, magical experience. Sometimes, that just isn’t the case. What’s most important, however, is to remember that the less-than-Instagram-worthy-days should not prevent you from meaningful travel. You can not only travel, study, intern, teach, and volunteer abroad with a mental disorder, but you can thrive while doing it.
This ebook and our writers’ experiences cover the full gambit of mental health and self-care abroad— traveling with anxiety disorder, traveling with depression, traveling during recovery for an eating disorder, or traveling with any other type of mental health issues.
Today I still struggle with depression and battle semi-frequent anxiety attacks, but when I am in a battle with myself I have those memories of my adventure abroad. See, study abroad made me stronger, but it also made me aware of how important it is to take care of your mental health on study abroad.” - Jennifer Teeter
Take me, for example – I am a 5'8 woman (I stand out in large crowds); I am multi-ethnic, though I physically look white (and deal with the respective stereotypes); I am a hard worker (great for volunteering!) who also loves to play and daydream; and I manage daily an autoimmune disease (I have to get good sleep), anxiety (I have to calm my panicking mind), and life in recovery from an eating disorder (read on). No matter how hard I try, I can’t pretend that crossing a border leaves all of this behind.” - Niki Kraska
Our writers offer the best advice, coping tips, and resources to support your mental health care abroad. While you’re traveling to end the stigma, make sure you have the experience of a lifetime, and of course, still take care of yourself.
Note: This is an open self care book. It will continue to grow as we share more stories and add more voices. If you’re interested in contributing to this ebook, you can email Editor Erin Oppenheim at firstname.lastname@example.org.